Bhubaneswar, June 24: Three prominent sites in Odisha, comprising the Bhitar Kanika wildlife sanctuary, the Chilka lake and the ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ in the heritage city of Bhubaneswar, have been included in UNESCO’s list of heritage sites, the minister of state for tourism and culture, Mr. Ashok Chandra Panda said on Tuesday.
The number of ancient monuments and sites in Bhubaneswar, which have enthused historians since long, have caused the city to be shortlisted by UNESCO, Mr. Panda said while speaking at the SOA University here.
Mr. Panda, the local legislator who was felicitated at the School of Hotel Management (SHM) run by the University, also expressed happiness at the capital city’s growth as an education hub. “The city is now being referred to as ‘Vidya Nagari’ and the SOA University has also developed into a huge institution creating its own identity in the country,” he said.
With several IT companies setting up their centres in Bhubaneswar, the city was discussed as an IT destination in a conclave held in San Francisco in 2010 and the matter has been given due weightage in the Vision-2030 document prepared by the IIT, Kharagpur, the minister said adding the Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik had set up a task force for education.
Mr. Panda also said that the state government was keen to protect the state’s heritage for which the skill of master craftsmen in different fields was sought to be transferred to those willing to learn through the ancient “guru-sishya” tradition. A project to revive the “Bhagabat Tungis” in the state had also been taken up, he said.
The minister was felicitated by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. R.P.Mohanty in the presence of the Registrar and Dean of SHM, Prof. B.B.Pradhan.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Mohanty stressed the need for Odisha expanding its tourism infrastructure and set up a think-tank at the state level. The SHM planned to organise an international conference on tourism, he said while seeking the minister’s assistance in the matter.
Prof. B.P.Tripathy, Associate Dean, SHM and Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das, Associate Professor of the University also spoke.