Jajpur: The Odisha government has prepared a blueprint to boost tourism potential of various dams, water reservoirs and major water bodies in the state. These places will be developed as major picnic spots with necessary infrastructure development and beautification to attract more tourists.
Notably, tourism is one of the sectors that generate substantial revenues for the Odisha government.
Reports said, district-level standard operating procedure committees, chaired by Collectors have been formed for the purpose.
In fiscal 2021-22 and 2022-23, Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for spending. The funds will be utilised in three years. The Water Resources department has drawn up a set of guidelines and asked Collectors June 21 to take steps to make the ambitious projects feasible.
However, the Odisha government has taken some policy decisions regarding the protection, conservation and utilisatisaton of lands falling under the category of water bodies. Various outfits have expressed doubts about execution of the latest projects as the policy decisions have not been put in place.
As per information available from the Water Resources department, there are 205 major dams in the state. Under this programme, the government will develop the peripheral areas around these dams for entertainment activities.
Besides, facilities like boating and camping will be set up at these places while safety and protection of the dams will be of topmost priority while implementing these projects.
As per pan, no permanent structures of any kind will be allowed on the upper end of these water bodies. Development activities will be taken up only within the 200-metre perimeter of the water bodies.
Another major decision taken to maintain security was that the dam embankments will not be allowed for communication purposes after these projects are executed.
High decibel sound and music has also been banned near the dams to ensure peaceful atmosphere to the aquatic creatures and birds.
Pollution control measures in these areas will also be given top priority.
Guidelines have also been prepared to ensure safety during water sports and to prevent mishaps.
However, the projects stand in contrast with the government’s decision to protect the lands belonging to water bodies. Following an order of the Orissa High Court, a committee has been formed in 2018 with RDC as its chairperson to identify the water bodies. Four years have passed since the formation of the committee, but lands for many water bodies have not been identified.