The Government of Odisha has decided to involve block and Gram Panchayat level women self-help groups (WSHGs) federations in operating the wayside amenity centres (WACs). Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, who on Wednesday reviewed the functioning of WACs in a high-level meeting here, has issued directions in this regard.
He has directed Mission Shakti Department to train WSHG members with necessary skills through professional institutions for running WACs. “Professionally run WACs by WSHGs will not only create additional income opportunities for the local people but will also attract more tourists to these places,” said Mahapatra.
He advised to make available additional logistic facilities at WACs, which are generally required by travelers and tourists. The departments of Mission Shakti, Tourism and Works were asked to work out details for effective functioning of WACs.
The Chief Secretary also directed the departments of Rural Development and Works to locate and list out the scenic places by side of different roads, leading to tourism sites and eco-spots. It was decided to have a small parking place for 10 to 15 vehicles, toilets, sitting place, etc., at a WAC so that tourists stop there for a while and enjoy its scenic beauty.
As many as 35 WACs have been created by the Tourism Department, while 49 others by the Works Department. Principal Secretary, Tourism, Surendra Kumar, Principal Secretary, Works, Vir Vikram Yadav, Secretary, Mission Shakti, Sujata Kartikeyan, Director, Tourism, Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav and other senior officers participated in the deliberation.