Foreign tourists intrude Dongria land

Rayagada: The state government had issued certain restrictions on the visit of foreign tourists and researchers to such places inhabitated by primitive tribes. Yet violations were detected at the weekly haat at Chatikona in Rayagada district inhabitated by primitive Dongria Kondhs. Foreign tourists were spotted moving leisurely and capturing pictures of Dongria Kondhs in the weekly haat.

The Niyamgiri hills in the district are known as the traditional abode of the Dongria Kondhs. Over 50 foreign tourists from countries like Italy, Germany, Japan, England and Netherland were spotted on Wednesday in the weekly haat at Chatikona in complete violation of the restrictions imposed by the state government on the movement of foreign tourists and research scholars in areas which are traditional abodes of the primitive tribes like the Dongrias. The foreign tourists were seen enjoying their sojourn to the tribal land and even captured photographs of the Dongrias.

The government had imposed the restrictions following the hue and cry raised after some tour operators uploaded photographs of primitive Bonda tribals on websites to attract foreign tourists to Bonda hills in Malkangiri district. Under the conditions of the imposed restrictions, foreign tourists can only specified areas of tribal areas after taking conditional permission from the distict collectors. The tourists are strictly barred from taking snaps of the tribals and even exchanging words with the natives. And the tourists must be accompanied by staff of the government agencies or micro-projects working for the development of the tribals.

The government had imposed the restrictions on February 25. But there has hardly been any campaign about the restrictions and the punitive measures resulting in such lapses as was detected in Niyamgiri hills inhabitated by the Dongrias.