Jajpur: With lakhs of visitors thronging the Vyasa Sarovar Peetha in Jajpur district throughout the year, the demand for provision of basic amenities at the place has also grown. Despite being a popular tourist spot, the apathy of the district administration towards the place has triggered resentment among many visitors.
Jajpur has had a special place in the tourist map of Odisha. Political leaders are continuously saying that various steps have been taken to improve the tourism sector of the district. But the irony is that the development of Vyasa Sarovar Peetha has remained confined to a plaque only.
Lack of drinking water facility, toilet and restroom for visitors especially for the women visitors in the place, have created displeasure.
Following demands from several quarters, the state government had accorded the status of tourist spot to the Vyasa Sarovar Peetha back in 2011 with a plaque of ‘Vyasa Nagar Jagannath Garden’ inaugurated by then minster Srikant Jena. Again in 2013 and 2016, then MLA Pritiranjan Ghadai and Akash Dash Nayak had inaugurated two plaques i.e. Vyasa Sarovar Peetha renovation plaque and Vyasa Nagar development respectively.
Though initially, development of the peetha was carried out, the pace of work gradually slowed down after the district administration blacklisted the contractor engaged in the work.
No significant work has been done since then. “This was accorded the tourist spot status, but no significant development has been carried out here. We demand the state government should develop the place as a proper tourist destination on priority basis,” said Akhaya Pati, a local.
Kabita Sahu, a tourist, said, “The administration should make arrangements for drinking water facility and waiting room at the place for the benefit of visitors.”
Then Municipality Chairperson Sabita Rout had sanctioned Rs 5 crore for the renovation work of the peetha. The PWD department had spent only Rs 1 crore for the renovation and beautification of the peetha after that the work had been stopped by the department following the order of the Collector.
Meanwhile, the administration stated that steps are being taken for development of the Vyasa Sarovar Peetha. “Gradually the place is being renovated. I have informed the higher-ups about the issues and funds have been allocated for the development work,” said Santosh Kumar Mishra, additional Collector, Kalinganagar.
Recently, the 11-day-long Vyasa Sarovar Mela concluded at the Vyasa Sarovar Ground with more than seven lakh devotees. Revelers also came from Keonjhar and Dhenkanal districts to attend the fair and pray to lord Vyasadev and Raghabaji Gosain. But with no proper road to the peetha, the devotees had to suffer to reach their destination.
As per mythology, Duryodhana was hiding in Gupta Ganga of the Vyasa Sarovar Peetha during Mahabharat war. Later, Bheema, one of the Pandavas, spotted Duryodhana and broke his thigh. The tourist place is therefore popular among devotees and the visitors.
When contacted, Collector Niranjan Nayak replied that a blueprint is prepared by the district administration for the renovation and beautification of the Vyasa Sarovar. “I have consulted with Kalinganagar additional Collector in this regard”, added Nayak.