Bhubaneswar: The Centre has once again ignored Odisha. This time, it is in the tourism sector. The Centre has not mentioned any tourism spots of Odisha in its 17 iconic sites proposed for development in the 2019-20 Budget.
Resentment is brewing in the state over the non-inclusion of any state tourism site in the Centre’s list.
Expressing concern over the Centre’s bias against Odisha, Tourism & Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said, “The Sun Temple of Konark is a world famous tourist destination. We are upset at the non-inclusion of any state tourism site in the list. We hope the Centre will reconsider our case and include Odisha sites in the current Budget.”
The minister said he will also bring this issue to the attention of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Puri MP Pinaki Mishra and Nimapara MLA Samir Ranjan Das criticised the Centre over the issue, and said they will approach the Centre demanding inclusion of sites from Odisha in the list.
“The BJP had committed to make Puri the cultural capital of India in its manifesto. If they have given iconic status to Puri, it would have been a first step in fulfilling that promise,” Mishra said.
Stating that Puri is fully justified to be classified an iconic tourist destination, the BJD MP said, “I am surprised and disappointed. I will definitely raise this with the Centre.”
Das termed the decision of the Centre as ‘unfortunate’ and said, “The list was prepared without consulting Odisha. It is unfortunate that no spot from the state was included in the list of 17 iconic tourist sites proposed to be developed by the Centre.” He has written a letter to the state Tourism Minister to raise the issue with the Centre.
State BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said his party will request the Centre to consider the state’s interest. “We will approach the Centre and request to revise the list. We hope the BJP Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will consider our request,” said Harichandan.
Notably, presenting her maiden Budget in the Parliament July 5, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had mentioned that the government is developing 17 iconic destinations into world-class tourist destinations.
These 17 destinations are Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh, Ajanta and Ellora Caves and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Lal Qila in Delhi, Colva beach in Goa, Amer Fort in Rajasthan, Somnath Temple and Dholavira in Gujarat, Hampi in Karnataka, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Kajiranga in Assam, Kumarkom in Kerala and Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar. For the development of these destinations, private investors will be encouraged and infrastructure and communication with other major cities will be developed.