Keonjhar: With the fear of a second wave of COVID-19 looming large, the district administration has decided not to open the gates of popular tourist spots in Keonjhar district to visitors and picnickers.
The state Tourism Department has identified 15 tourist spots in Keonjhar district. Besides those, there are also some other locations that offer postcard-perfect scenes. However, they do not feature on the Tourism Department’s list.
Most of these tourist spots witness footfalls throughout the year. It increases during the winter months of November to February. A few places, especially those with religious importance, witness more than 1,00,000 persons on certain occasions.
Among the tourist spots are the Sana Ghagara, Bada Ghagara, Khandadhar and Handibhanga Waterfalls. Visitors also flock to the Kanjhari, Hadagarh dams and the Kanjipani Ghat. People throng to the Baldevjew Ghatagaon Maa Tarini and Deogaon Kushaleswar Temples. They also visit Gonasika – the place of River Baitarani’s origin, Murga Mahadev and Chakrateerth.
Usually at this time of the year, all these places are very crowded. However, this time around they are wearing a deserted look due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When contacted, district collector Ashish Thakre said the tourist spots will remain closed for the time being. “We have taken such a decision as there is the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 during winter. This apart, our objective is to make Keonjhar a coronavirus-free district,” Thakre said.
The district administration’s decision has hit a section of people who depend on these tourist spots directly or indirectly for earning livelihood.