State gives report on human safari issue

Bhubaneswar:  Odisha government today said it has apprised the Centre about steps taken by it to stop the reported "human safari" by tour operators in Odisha. "We have sent an interim report to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs which sought our views on media report which highlighted a specific tribal group," SC and ST Development secretary Santosh Sarangi told PTI here.

Besides informing the Centre about state tourism department`s awareness campaign among the tour operators, Sarangi said: "We will submit a full fledged report soon following field visit by a senior officer." The state government had sent a senior woman IAS officer to Malkangiri district to study the present scenario in the field level. "I understand the officer has returned here and is likely to submit her report soon," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters.

The tourism department has, meanwhile, held meetings with tour operators and travel agencies asking them to delete any objectionable material from their websites and brochure. "The tour operators have responded positively to our request," said tourism and culture secretary A K Tripathy.

Meanwhile, taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the state police have registered a case against a tour operator for selling objectionable tourism products. The firm organises visits of foreign tourists to tribal pockets of the state. The move followed a report on January 25 in a leading national daily claiming that tour operators have been offering titillating "human safari" in Odisha providing a closer look at primitive Bonda tribe.