Konark: The Centre has received a proposal from the Odisha Government for incorporating Konark and Puri in the Iconic Sites list and the Union Government is considering it. “The people of the State, Union Ministers from Odisha and the State Government, everyone has a strong desire for inclusion of pilgrim town of Puri and Konark in the iconic sites list,” Union Tourism Minister Prahallad Singh said here today.
Singh said that the Centre has gone an extra mile to attract foreign tourists to India. PM Narendra Modi has taken four major decisions in the first 100 days in Government. E-visa has been extended to five years, the e-visa fees has been reduced to USD 10 and USD 25 for individual and group respectively, he added.
Similarly, the GST on hotel rooms has been reduced to 18 per cent and 12 per cent for different categories. Another major decision was on the 137 peaks in Himalayan states which will be opened. Besides, the Tourism Ministry and Shipping Ministry are working in tandem to streamline the paperwork involved in ships arriving at Indian ports, Singh said.
There is a cordial relation between States and the Centre. We are not competitors and working for the development of the State and country as a whole. Singh praised the Eco-Retreat at Konark and said that such initiatives will develop tourism to a great extent.
Speaking about the safety of the Sun Temple, the Minister said that the structure has been safe since centuries and will be secure and safe for many more centuries. “This is our responsibility to preserve such iconic heritage sites for long,” he said.