Kendrapara, Oct 13 (LocalWire): The 500-year-old holy Banyan tree known as ‘Sakhibata’ covering around two acres at Bilabalarampur in Kendrapara district is all set to be featured in the tourism map.
‘The historic tree has around 700 sub-trunks. With its aerial roots, the tree looks more like a forest than an individual tree.
This century-old-tree represents the past history of Kendrapada and so we decided to conserve it and develop the area to attract more tourists by spending more than Rs 50 lakh, said Sarthak Verma, the district Collector of Kendrapara.
‘The conservation of the sacred grove had hit a snag in the past although the state tourism department granted Rs 50 lakh in 2016.
But recently, we chalked out plans to develop the area.
We are also planning to construct proper roads, boundary wall, drinking water facilities, security and beatification of the place and an ancient temple in Sakhibata.
We will also build a children park near the tree.
The authorities are also emphasising on sustainable tourism to generate employment for locals.
Lack of proper marketing strategies to promote the holy tree has depleted the tourist inflow into the area and we will seek help from tour operators to attract more tourists to Sakhibata.
Under the ‘Sakhibata conservation and development’ project we will also build a public convention centre and parking place at Sakhibata,’ added the Collector.