Tourism development through local committee; Sanaghagara Development committee sets example for Odisha


Report by Malya Mohapatra; Keonjhar: There are many tourist spots of Odisha which are neglected and ill maintained due to lack of funds from the government. But Sanghagara Eco tourist spot is an exception where the local Sanghagara Development Committee has taken the responsibility to maintain and develop the tourist spot out by generating its own funds. In 1996, the Local committee was formed by collector keonjhar consisting of Govt ofiicials and representative from different peoples forum. The Sub Collector, keonjhar has been nominated by collector to head the committee Since then, the committee is busy maintaining and developing the tourist spot by collecting an entry fee from tourist coming to visit the place. Gradually, the committee has developed gardens, lawns, childrens park, a lake with boating facilities, parking area, Drinking water facilities, toilets and kitchen sheds, security systems, music station, picnic area, lighting and sitting arrangements, vending zone with shops besides many beautification works in and around the tourist spot. Hence, the flow of tourist has rapidly increased in the last few years. Entry fee collection from tourist has rose from Rs 20,000 to 30 lakhs in the last 20 years. The entry fee was being collected through vendor engaged by the committee in the last few years but presently the committee is directly collecting the fees and maintaining the spot. With growth in income the sanaghagara development committee is planning more amenities and activities to attract tourist. Expansion of the lake for boating, a new cafeteria, a tribal museum, a new bathing and toilet complex, new parking area, expansion of garden area work is under progress. The Government is also assisting in construction of some projects. To maintain transparency, all construction works are routed through govt department with professional supervision. Now sanaghagara is a prominent tourist spot of Odisha which attracts lakhs of tourist from all parts of India. Its location on the outskirts of Keonjhar town easily approached by road and rail has made it popular destination for tourist. The example of sanaghara development committee can be replicated in other tourist spots of the state to bring a rapid change in the tourism development along with creating employment.