Bhubaneswar, March 7 (LocalWire): Keen to market the bounteous natural beauty of Odisha the state government has expedited work on the 30 eco-tourism sites spread across 22 districts of the state. Facilities for tourists are being developed at these sites which have been carefully selected with an eye on their potential to attract the footloose and fancy-free travellers.
A joint initiative of forest and tourism departments it is being hailed as a game changer in the field of tourism.
While the forest department is responsible for developing the required infrastructure at these places including staying facilities for the tourists the tourism department will take care of publicity.
Forest officials said that work was at an advanced stage at most of the sites including Mangaljodi on the banks of the Chilika lake where lakhs of migratory birds from various parts of Asia and Eastern Europe congregate to spend the winter.
“ One can see the birds at Nalabana island and in Mangalajodi and Sorana areas. Hence developing tourist facilities at places like Mangalajodi is very important,” said Chilika assistant conservator of forests, Maheswar Patnaik.
Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the body tasked with development and ecological conservation of the lake, has renovated the bird interpretation center called Bihanga Bhavan at Mangaljodi at an estimated cost of Rs.10 lakh.
The center, a major attraction for foreign tourists, has maps and charts depicting the migration pattern of birds, their ecology and congregation sites.
Mangaljodi, a wetland with villages on its edge, attracts migratory birds in large numbers. Even the Bombay Natural History Society has hailed it as an ideal congregation ground for the winged guests.
Talking of developmental initiatives at Managalajodi steps are being taken to construct at least a dozen rooms, watchtowers and nature trails.
Interestingly the place till a few years ago was notorious for the poaching of migratory birds. However, Patnaik said that Mangalajodi was now a safe place for birds with steps having been taken to curb poaching.
“ Our department has created awareness among the villagers and worked hard to turn even hardcore poachers into protector of birds. Birds are now safe in the area,” said the officer.
Other sites being developed by the state government as part of this new tourism project include Barakhandia and Dhodrokusum under the Hirakud wildlife division, Kumari and Jamuani the under Baripada wildlife division, Deras and Godibari under the Chandaka wildlife division and Tarava and Chhotkei under the Satkosia wildlife division.