Probe ordered into foreign tourists lapses

Bhubaneswar: The government today asked the Rayagada collector to conduct an inquiry into the incident in which about 50 foreign tourists visited the weekly haat of the Dongria Kondhs in Chatikona and even took pictures of the vulnerable tribals. The chief secretary Bijaya Patnaik today told reporters that action would be taken against the tour operators if they would be found guilty.

However, the Odisha Travel Agent Association has clarified that the incident occured because of lack of awareness about the restrictions and conditions imposed by the government for visiting areas inhabitated by vulnerable tribals like Dongria Kondhs.

Sources said that six tour operators had taken about 50 foreign tourists to the wekly haat at Chatikona. However, the Dongria Kondh Development Agency((DKDA) had given permission for the visit of 32 tourists. The six tour operators included Heritage Tour Operator from Puri, Adventure Holiday from Bhubaneswar, Travel Link Private Limited and Alternative Tour Private Limited. The tour opeartors had taken the tourists to several places in Rayagada for sight-seeing.