Performance politics: BJD highlights achievements in three departments

Capital subsidies up to Rs 10 crore and Rs 15 crore for taking up projects below and above Rs 50 crore in tourism sector

Bhubaneswar: As part of its strategy to reach out people after completion of their third year in the fourth term, the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) led government today highlighted its achievement in culture and tourism, sports and IT departments.

Presenting the report card of culture and tourism department, Minister Ashok Panda said for the first time an Odia chair has been established in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. Odisha Official Language Amendment Act 2016 was also passed and the pension of artistes was increased from Rs 1000 to Rs 1200.

“Nabakalebar memorial postal stamp was also released during the period. A total of Rs 258.96 crore has also been spent on upgradation of infrastructure in tourism sector in the last three years following which foreign tourist arrival increased by 14 per cent and that of overall visitors by 9 per cent. While tourist arrival in the state has gone up from 98,66,810 in 2013 to 1,29,19,260 in 2016, the foreign tourist arrival grew from 66,675 in 2013 to 76,361 in 2016,” said Panda.

Air India’s direct flight from Varanasi to Bhubaneswar and direct flight service between Bhubaneswar and Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia will boost the State’s tourism sector. Chief Minister Naveep Patnaik has also written to the Centre to provide visa on arrival facility in Bhubaneswar airport in view of the new direct international air connectivity.

Steps have been taken to improve Buddhist tourism, beach and ethnic tourism, and heritage and eco tourism. A state-of-the-art museum for displaying Buddhist archaeological finds is also coming up at Lalitgiri.

Besides, the new tourism policy launched in November 2016 offers incentives in the form of capital subsidies up to Rs 10 crore and Rs 15 crore for taking up projects below and above Rs 50 crore in tourism sector.

While highlighting the achievements of sports department, Minister Chandrasarathi Behera said events like Asian Athletics Championship and Hockey World League Final at Bhubaneswar have helped the Capital city get placed on the international sports map.

“The government is providing Rs 50 lakh to athletes to get proper training outside India. We are also providing police jobs to sportspersons. In the last three years, Rs 4.01 crore has been spent on awarding sportspersons for their outstanding achievements,” added Behera.

Behera, who is also in-charge of the IT department, boasted of the State’s achievement in the field of technical skill development.