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Odisha Government approves an Action Plan to develop 30 Eco-Tourism Spots in the state

Bookings for nature-tourism spots can be made online through website www.ecotourodisha.com

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In Orissa (Representational image). Pixabay

Bhubaneswar, December 20, 2016: The Odisha government on Tuesday approved an action plan to develop 30 eco-tourism spots in the state.

The plan for 2016-17 fiscal with an estimated cost of Rs 21 crore was approved in the eco-tourism board meeting here, presided over by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.

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Padhi advised the Forests and Environment Department to create more employment opportunities for local youths through these projects.

He also directed that projects be planned on self-sustaining mode.

It was decided to keep the nature tourism spots open throughout the year.

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The meeting also decided to prepare a master plan for the comprehensive development of these spots.

The Chief Secretary further advised the department to publicise the spots through tour operators, websites, and hoteliers at national and international forums.

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Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sidhant Das said bookings for nature-tourism spots can be made online through website www.ecotourodisha.com.

So far, 27 youths have been trained in hospitality and housekeeping for providing services in the eco-tourism spots, he said. (IANS)

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This is How Stubble Burning is Avoided in Odisha

The state is one of the largest producers of rice in the country

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Stubble Burning, Odisha, North India
Agriculture in Odisha is the mainstay of the majority of the populace. Pixabay

Unlike north India, crop stubble burning is not prevalent in Odisha even though it has started making inroads unto several parts of the coastal state.

Air pollution due to stubble burning has turned a critical health hazard in north India.

Agriculture in Odisha is the mainstay of the majority of the populace. The state is one of the largest producers of rice in the country. The state government has fixed a target of procuring 60 lakh metric tonnes of paddy during the kharif marketing season (KMS), 2019-20.

However, instead of burning the stubble, the farmers use the paddy straw in various ways such as cattle feed, compost manure, roofing of thatched houses, biomass energy and mushroom cultivation.

Stubble Burning, Odisha, North India
Air pollution due to stubble burning has turned a critical health hazard in north India. Pixabay

“In Odisha, we don’t resort to paddy residue burning unlike in north India where pollution level has increased manifold due to crop stubble burning and other reasons. We cut down the paddy straw and bring it for using cattle fodder and roofing of thatched houses,” said farmer leader Akshay Kumar.

“I have purchased paddy straw of Rs 50,000 for mushroom cultivation. I have been doing mushroom cultivation for several years. Sometimes, I have purchased paddy straw at a higher price as many people have adopted the cultivation since it gives good profit,” said Stephenson Sahu from Patharkhamb village in Dhenkanal district.

Moreover, Odisha is going to have a Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-Refinery, first in the country to produce ethanol using rice straw as feedstock, in Bargarh district, one of the major paddy producing districts in the state.

The bio-refinery to be set up by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) will utilise about two lakh tonnes of rice straw annually as feedstock which will be sourced from nearby locations.

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The agriculture sector provides employment to more than 60 per cent of the population, making it the largest employment sector of the state.

The state has total geographical area of 155.71 lakh hectares of which total cultivated land is about 61.80 lakh hectares, which constitute about 39.69% of the total geographical area of the state. Small and marginal farmers form more than 90% of the farming community, according to a report of the Agriculture Department. (IANS)