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Development of iconic sites: Govt should have included Konark

By Sakshi Kaushik
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Bhubaneswar, July 09: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget 2019 in Parliament on 5th July.The Government announced of "developing 17 iconic tourism sites a world class tourism center to improve the flow of domestic and foreign tourist to these destination. The objective of reserving rich tribal heritage a digital repository on the life and culture of the tribe will be stored."

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

The Ministry of tourism identified 17 sites in 12 states for Development under the iconic tourist sites development project. These include Uttar Pradhesh- Taj Mahal and Fatehpur sikri, Maharashtra- Ajanta and Ellora, Delhi- Humayun's tombs, Red Fort and Qutub Minar, Goa- Colva Beach, Rajasthan- Ajmer Fort, Gujarat- Somnath and Dholavira, Madhya Pradesh- Khajuraho, Karnataka- Hampi, Tamil Nadu- Mahabalipuram, Kerala- Kumarakom, Bihar- Mahabodhi.

Union Budget 2019: Full text of Nirmala Sitharaman's maiden speech

The ministry has decided to develop the sites in holistic manner with the main focus on issue concerning connectivity to the destination, better facilities / experiences for the tourist at the site, Most of the monuments taken up for development fall under Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) and State Archaeological Department.

The plan for the project was first mentioned in the budget announcement of 2018/19. The details were given in a written reply in Rajya Sabha by the Minister of state of tourism, K.J.Alphons.

It was so disappointing to know that there is no mention about the State Odisha which is rich in natural and architectural heritage. The state has one of the must visit pilgrimage sites for Hindus (Char Dham), Puri the city of beaches and its most famous attraction the Jagannath temple and other attractions like Chillika lake, Konark's Sun temple etc.

Odisha Minister of Tourism Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi reacted saying that "this is a very serious matter, how can Odisha, which is rich in natural and architectural heritage like Sun temple and Chillika lake be completely left out? We will raise this matter in Parliament and seek the intervention of Chief Minister in this issue. We would like the Central Government to reconsidered the decision."

Union Budget 2019: Key takeaways

Vice Chancellor, Utkal University of Culture, Dr Kamalkanta blame Odisha for not having sufficient political clout to have been ignored in this fashion 'why is Odisha neglected', at least Konark Temple should have been included.

Commissioner Cum Secretary, Department of Tourism Odisha Government Vishal Kumar Dev said "we are disappointed at the decisions of Central Government. We were not consulted when the list was prepared. At least Konark should be included. The Government must reconsidered the matter."

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