Advertisement
Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
Outlook.com
Spotlight

No One Wants The Other Tourism Juggernaut In Puri

Odisha tries to do a Goa, get beach shacks across its 480-km coastline. Maybe a tourist-friendly idea, but they didn’t ask the seers at Puri.

No One Wants The Other Tourism Juggernaut In Puri
No One Wants The Other Tourism Juggernaut In Puri
outlookindia.com
2021-08-06T15:33:55+05:30

The government should have seen it coming. But as in many past ­cases, it was afflicted with the ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’ syndrome when the tourism department floa­ted a tender inviting bids for 20 beach shacks—an alias for watering holes—on six major beaches in Odi­sha to attract tourists. The six beaches spread along the state’s 480-km coastline included the 35-km Puri-Konark marine drive. Five of the shacks were proposed on this stretch.

Predictably, all hell broke loose once news about the tender, the process for which had already been completed, was out. A host of cultural and religious outfits, mostly based in Puri, were up in arms against what they said was an ­affront to the religious and spiritual heritage of this pilgrimage town. They were joined by the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth, Swami Nischala­nanda Saraswati, who came out strongly against this ‘sacrilege’. A memorandum calling for the immediate scrapping of the plan was submitted to the state government. As the protests grew louder, the government beat a hasty retreat and announced the cancellation of the tender for Puri. “Considering the spiritual significance of Puri, the government has decided to drop the plan for setting up beach shacks in Puri,” announced Puri collector Samarth Verma.

But those opposing the idea wonder how the government failed to factor in this aspect when it chose to go ahead with the tender. “Did the government come to know about the spiritual significance of Puri only after the protests gathered momentum?” asks Yudhisthir Rout, a resident of the town.  “I am sure they knew that the Puri beach is not like other beaches and is an integral part of the Jagannath cult ecosystem.” Srikant Sahoo, who is in the tourist trade, says, “It is not as if alcohol is banned in Puri. Tourists stay in hotels and get their fill. So, where was the need to set up­ ­exclusive beach shacks for booze and rile the local people?”

The process for beach shacks on the other five beachfronts, however, has not been scrapped. It remains to be seen if the plan goes ahead on the other beaches stretching from Gopalpur in the south to Talasari in the north.


By Sandeep Sahu in Bhubaneswar

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

UN Seeks Release Of Kashmiri Activist Khurram Parvez, Amendment In UAPA

UN Seeks Release Of Kashmiri Activist Khurram Parvez, Amendment In UAPA

The UN has sought probe into civilian killings in Jammu and Kashmir’s Hyderpora and called on the security forces and armed groups to exercise restraint.

Omicron Cases Spike: 21 Countries That Recorded New Covid-19 Variant

Omicron Cases Spike: 21 Countries That Recorded New Covid-19 Variant

South Africa, the first nation where the virus variant was detected, has reported 77 cases of Omicron so far, prompting travel bans across the world.

Man United, IPL Big Boys, Sydney Sixers Enter UAE T20 League

Man United, IPL Big Boys, Sydney Sixers Enter UAE T20 League

Lancer Capital has made its first-ever historic foray into cricket by acquiring a franchise in the UAE T20 league. The ECB has already roped in IPL teams like MI, DC and KRR.

Five Powerful Indian-Americans Rocking Silicon Valley, Parag Agrawal Latest Addition

Five Powerful Indian-Americans Rocking Silicon Valley, Parag Agrawal Latest Addition

As Parag Agrawal becomes the CEO of Twitter, the Indian diaspora's representation in the tech giants of America, especially the companies in Silicon Valley gets a new badge.

Advertisement