Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 24:
Tourism and Culture minister Ashok Panda today extolled the rich natural and cultural heritage of Odisha, which has made the state known the world over.
It is this heritage which led tThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to include the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary, Chilika lake and Ekamra Kshetra (Bhubaneswar) of Odisha in its list of heritage sites, he said speaking at the Siksha O Anusandhan (SOA) University here today.
“The ancient monuments and sites in Bhubaneswar that have enthused historians since long, have led the state capital city to be shortlisted by UNESCO,” Panda sai.
Expressing happiness at the capital city’s growth as an education hub, the minister said; “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.”
With several IT companies setting up their centres in Bhubaneswar, the city was being 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 chief minister Naveen Patnaik had set up a task force for education.
Panda also said 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.
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.
Panda, who is the legislator from the Ekamra assembly constituency in the state capital, was felicitated at the School of Hotel Management (SHM) run by the University by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof RP Mohanty in the presence of the Registrar and Dean of SHM, Prof BB Pradhan.
Among others, Prof BP Tripathy, Associate Dean, SHM and Prof Jyoti Ranjan Das, Associate Professor of the University also spoke.