Berhampur: In a bid to promote sustainable development, that too in an eco-friendly way, the state government got the ball rolling to set up a project worth `500 crore in Gopalpur to boost tourism infrastructure here in Ganjam district.
“The Eco-Retreat Hub”, a dream project of the BJD government, was proposed to be developed over 47 acre of land in Udayapur and Venkatraipur villages under Konisi tehsil. The project has been proposed to be implemented through a comprehensive development plan (CDP) -Infrastructure Development Fund Scheme.
The project was approved by the State Level Empowered Committee in its meeting in the secretariat headed by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi December 24, 2016. Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, secretaries of water resources, forest and environment, housing and urban development, Ganjam collector and BDA secretary participated in the deliberations.
The foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself during his visit to Ganjam earlier November 30, 2016. After getting a green signal from the committee, the Berhampur Development Authority (BDA) started the tender process for the project, it was learnt.
The Chief Secretary also directed the housing and urban development (H&UD) department to guide other major urban local bodies (ULBs) of the state included under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Yojana to take up similar projects.
The project is prepared based on realistic assessment of people’s needs, sources said. This step by the government will catapult the beach into one of the top tourism spots in the country. The priority is to balance nature and eco-friendly practices, sources said. The implementation of the project will be monitored accordingly so that it won’t disrupt natural systems at the cost of development, officials said.
The project will help tourists learn about the delicate eco-system and the importance of preserving nature. It will have water sports and other adventure activities. The project will emphasize on preserving cultural and traditional roots of Orissa.
The project is being set up keeping in mind the tastes of foreign and local tourists. Officials have already charted out a master plan known as the digital project report (DPR).
A walking route will be designed from the beach to the lighthouse. Similarly, a state of the art gallery will be set up that will illustrate water, electricity and waste management initiatives by the state government. The state government has also proposed industrial houses to set up food centres, beach view villas, arrival plaza, hospitality street, parking lot, restaurant, cafe and organic farms for the betterment of the tourists.
Although the dream project might take a few years to be up and running, the news has warmed the cockles of local people in Gopalpur and nearby places.
“It is a glorious moment not only for us but for all Oriyas as the project will put Gopalpur as one of the best tourist places in the world,” a local said. PNN