Sambalpur: In a bid to attract more tourists to Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Sambalpur district, the Hirakud wildlife division authorities, Wednesday, launched five air-conditioned safari vehicles. Attabira MLA Snehangini Chhuria and DFO of Hirakud Wildlife Division Ashipragyan Das flagged off the vehicles. These vehicles are in addition to the fleet of nine that are already operational at the tourism site.
Addressing the gathering at the launching ceremony, the DFO said that the addition of five AC safari vehicles will give the necessary boost to the tourist destination.
“Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary has its own identity for its rich flora and fauna. Tourists from various parts of Odisha and 25 other states like Chhattisgarh and West Bengal visit the sanctuary every year. Even during the Covid-19 times last year, the wildlife sanctuary recorded a footfall of 55,000 tourists. Since the Covid-19 restrictions are over now, tourists are expected to visit the sanctuary this year,” the DFO said.
Of the five safari vehicles, three are four-seater Mahindra Thor while two of them are mini buses with a sitting capacity of 12 each.
In yet another development, safari vehicles are will now be allowed to ferry tourists to Samalei temple, Sambalpur town (to buy Sambalpuri handloom items), Deer Park, Nrusinghanath temple in Bargarh and Kedarnath temple in Barpahad range, it was stated. Earlier, the safari vehicles were allowed to ferry tourists only within the sanctuary precincts.
Officials also said the routes of the safari vehicles can be changed for the convenience of the tourists.
All kinds of recreational facilities – food, cycling and boating – have already been put in place inside the sanctuary for the tourists. Many unemployed youths of the peripheral villages have been engaged in all such activities.
Notably, Debrigarh is home to a variety of wildlife like deer, leopards, peacocks, barking deer, sambar and boars.
Speaking on the occasion, Chhuria said the state government has been undertaking a slew of programmes to promote tourism in Odisha.
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given special focus on Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary. With the launch of five AC safari vehicles, more tourists will visit the sanctuary,” she added.