Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government is working on an extensive plan to infuse life into the tourism sector which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy on Thursday directed Tourism Department to start river cruising in the State.

At a high-level meeting with experts and stakeholders held on digital mode, Tripathy asked the officials to explore the possibilities of innovative tourism activities.

“River cruising itself is compatible with Covid-19 restrictions. There is a huge scope and market for world Class River cruising in Odisha. It can also be connected with many eco-spots and refill the economic activities in the sector,” said Tripathy.

As per senior officials of Tourism Department, three principal river cruise circuits can be developed in Odisha. These are - Mahanadi, Chilika Lake and Dangmala reserve forest including the national water way -5 from Dhamara to Paradip.

Bhitarkanika circuit can connect the spots like Chandbali-Aradi-Dhamara-Khola and other spots in Bhitarkanika. This circuit can be a 5 nights and 6 days cruise. Chilika circuit can connect Chilika, Kalijai-Nalabana-Honeymoon island-Mangalajodi-Satapada-Rajhans island-Satapada and Puri. It could be a 3 nights and 4 days cruise, informed Tourism Department secretary, Vishal Dev.

As per sources, the River Cruising project will be implemented through PPP mode. Several issues relating to various regulatory permissions, compliance to pollution norms, river jetties, bar license etc were discussed and resolved in the meeting. The Chief Secretary assured that Odisha government would provide necessary support for the project.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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