The Odisha Government, on Friday, approved 10 new spots for development as eco-retreats with night stay facilities. It also added three new spots for development as nature-camp for day tourists. The footfall in eco-tourism destinations in the state grew by 142 percent in the last 5 years.
Currently, the eastern state has 50 eco-retreat destinations and nature camps for those savouring the warmth of nature in the idyllic and serene surroundings. With these 13 new approvals, the total number of spots would increase to 63.
These spots are growing popular with increasing footfalls and revenue generation. Online booking facility has also been rolled out. So far, around Rs 95 crore have been invested in development of the eco-destinations, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra informed on Friday.
While approving the new projects, Mahapatra sought for proper maintenance of the already created facilities and aimed for creating new ones through close monitoring.
The concerned Divisional Forest Officers and supervising officers were asked to go inside each cottage and verify proper functioning of all the facilities including dining places, toilets etc. Mahapatra also directed the department to involve local communities in hospitality and upkeep of the spots so that they earn their livelihood and preserve natural environs of the spots.
The new eco-retreats approved in a high-level meeting on Friday included Deomali hill top in Koraput, Jakam of Kalahandi, Nawana of Similipal north, Silviculture garden of Phulbani, Muhana Muhana at Astaranga in Puri, Kotia in Koraput, Khadakhai dam in Rairangpur, Mahendragiri from Ganjam side in Berhampur, Kanjipani Ghat and Hadagarh dam in Keonjhar forest divisions. Similarly, new nature camps for the day tourists would be developed at Rani Duduma of Koraput, Dhaltangarh of Cuttack, and Bhandarpahar near Jhadeswari Temple of Nayagarh forest divisions.