River Cruising In Offing In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In another step towards countering the Covid impact on the tourism industry, Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy has directed the Department of Tourism to start river cruising in Odisha.

While exploring the possibilities of innovative tourism activities in a high-level meeting with experts and stakeholders on digital mode, Tripathy said, “River Cruising itself is compatible with Covid-19 restrictions. There is a huge scope and latent market for world Class River cruising in Odisha. It can also be connected with many eco-spots and refill the economic activities in the sector.”

Tourism Secretary Vishal Dev outlined the issues and presented the updates for discussion, which showed that presently three principal river cruise circuits can be developed in the State. These are river Mahanadi, Chilika Lake and Dangmala reserve forest including the national water way-5 from Dhamara to Paradeep.

Bhitarkanika circuit can connect the spots like Chandbali-Aradi-Dhamara-Khola and other spots in Bhitarkanika. This circuit can be a 5 nights and 6 days cruise. Chilika circuit can connect Chilika, Kalijai-Nalabana-Honeymoon island-Mangalajodi-Satapada-Rajhans island-Satapada and Puri. It could be a 3 night and 4 days cruise.

The meeting deliberated for organizing this activity through PPP mode. The issues relating to various regulatory permissions, compliance to pollution norms, river jetties, bar license, etc were discussed and resolved in the meeting.

Tripathy assured that State Government would provide all facilitating support for this activity. State PPP cell was advised to work out the details in consultation with the Department of Tourism and Odisha Tourism Development Corporation. Chief Secretary also asked the Tourism department to coordinate with Inland Waterways Authority regarding statutory requirements.

Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary Forest & Environment Dr. Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary Finance Ashok Kumar Meena, Principal Secretary Water Resources Anu Garg, Secretary Tourism Vishal Kumar Dev, Director Tourism Sachin Ramchandra Yadav along with senior officers of concerned departments participated in the deliberations.