Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 11:
E-ticketing system will be introduced at the famous Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves of Odisha by the end of this year, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma announced here yesterday.
The scheme was aimed at the convenience of visitors and boosting the revenue of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Sharma said during a visit to the famous Jain caves at this major tourist attraction in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
The minister he was mesmerised by the architecture and sculpture of the 2300-year-old caves, but expressed his dissatisfaction over the dirty surroundings of the hills, also known as Kumari and Kumar parvat. He advised officials to work on the cleanliness of the place and include it in the PM’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
“Historical monuments like this are the prime attraction for tourists. We need to provide more amenities for the tourists to attract global visitors,” said Sharma while asking ASI to do more to attract tourists to the place.
It may be noted that under the paper ticketing system currently in place, visitors to the Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves buy paper tickets from the counter and submit a part of it while going inside. The guards are supposed to tear a portion of the visitor’s ticket. However, some of them manage to sneak in without the tickets being checked and reuse and resell the untorn tickets to new visitors leading to huge revenue loss for ASI.
The E-ticketing system will do away with this malpractice and generate more money for ASI enabling it to do more for the upkeep of the historical monuments.
On the occasion, the minister informed that Puri has been added to the ‘PRASAD’ scheme to attract more visitors. He also assured that the Union Government will cooperate with the State Government in all possible ways to enhance the employment and income possibilities of the locals.