Tourism master plan has 10 projects to boost infrastructure
Chilika lagoon, Asia’s largest brackish water lake with opening into the Bay of Bengal, may leave its mark on the tourism map of the country as the Odisha government is pushing for massive infrastructure improvement around the waterbody.
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu Newspaper
Impressed with the tourism master plan prepared for Chilika, the State government has asked the Forest and Environment department and the consulting firm to organise more consultations with different stakeholders before coming up with final document. Chilika, with a wetland spread over nearly 1,165 sq. km and more than 25 pristine islands, has been attracting tourists from all corners of the globe, but its tourism potential could not be harnessed due to huge infrastructure gap.
IPE Global, which has been asked to prepare a tourism master plan for the Chilika Lake and its catchment area, with emphasis on preservation of the ecosystem and natural habitat, has proposed 10 key projects with an estimated investment of â?¹757 crore. The plan was recently presented to Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi.
“A number of infrastructure projects have been conceptualised keeping in mind the growing interests among private investors in the Chilika Lake. The government also wants Chilika to be among top tourist destinations in the country,” said Sushant Nanda, Chief Executive of the Chilika Development Authority.
Apart from a series of luxury hotel projects, the master plan proposes day cruises. An iconic tower, dubbed the flagship project, has been proposed at Satapada near Chilika. Forest trails, tree walks and hurdle trails have been planned in Dhani, a tropical forest near Mangalajodi on the northeastern shore of the Chilika.