No Odisha monument in 17 iconic tourism sites in India

Bhubaneswar: Presenting the Union Budget 2019-20, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed that the government is developing 17 iconic tourism sites into world class tourist destinations which will serve as a model for other tourism sites and encourage arrival of tourists in India. Surprisingly, not a single heritage site from Odisha made it to the list of 17 tourist sites of the country.

Odisha being a hub of tourist destinations like Konark Sun Temple, yet failing to find a place in the list released by the Centre was termed unfortunate by the State SME minister, Samir Ranjan Dash. “The Centre did not consult with the State government before preparing the list. It is unfortunate that no monument from Odisha found a place in the list of 17 iconic tourist places of India. And the people of Odisha will never accept such contradictory decisions by the Centre. I will write to Union Tourism Minister requesting him to reconsider the decision,” said Dash.

Expressing a similar opinion, BJD MP Pinaki Mishra said, “Sun Temple in Konark has justification to be an iconic site. The Centre in its manifesto had committed to name Puri as the cultural capital of India. I am surprised that not even a single destination from Odisha found a place in the list.”

On the other hand, BJP State General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan has expressed hope that the Centre will revise the list.” I will draw the attention of two Union Ministers over the issue. And I expect that the Centre will reconsider the decision and revise the list,” said Harichandan.

The tourism sites identified by the Union Ministry of Tourism under Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project include Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar in New Delhi, Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Hampi in Karnataka, Colva beach in Goa, Somnath and Dholavira in Gujarat, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Kaziranga in Assam, Mahabodhi in Bihar, Amer Fort in Rajasthan and Kumarakom in Kerala.