Bhubaneswar: State Tourism and Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Thursday, told the Assembly that the state is in the process of surveying the feasibility of introducing cruise ships besides other water sports events in Bhitarkanika.
The response from the minister came after several legislators demanded inclusion of other amenities like cruise tourism in Bhitarkanika creek.
“The state government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kerala Inland Authority. The body is now surveying the area to study the feasibility of starting cruise services and water sports at Bhitarkanika. We will take a decision as soon as they give us their report,” said Panigrahi.
The Tourism minister also told the House that the state has already written to the Union government for inclusion of Bhitarkanika as one of the three iconic sites from the state. “The site would see some positive changes after some investments are made for the development of tourism infrastructure in the area,” the minister added.
Earlier in the day, Mahakalpada MLA Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak had demanded that services like cruise tourism for Bhitarkanika should be planned to boost tourism in the area. Former Finance Minister Shashi Bhushan Behera also raised similar demands.
He said, “The state government should consider starting cruise services in the area. If we can do this, we are likely to do better than Kerala and substantially increase the income for the state,” Behera had informed the House.
The minister also raised the demand of a Gandhi Circuit to cover the important areas where Mahatma Gandhi visited the state like in Kendrapara besides raising the demand for revival of Diamond Jubilee Library of Kendrapara.
The tourism minister said that the issue of library upgradation would be looked into while the state would be happy to take up the issue of connecting the areas where Gandhi visited in Odisha through the Gandhi Circuit. The minister also claimed that Bhitarkanika is one of the most preferred destinations for the state government.