Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 26:
The Union Culture and Tourism Ministry has included Odisha’s pilgrim city Puri in the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).
Union minister of Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik informed about the inclusion in a letter to Odisha Culture and Tourism minister Ashok Panda, said a press release of the department.
The PRASAD scheme will be launched in this financial year with an outlay of Rs 100 crore for augmentation of infrastructure at pilgrimage sites across the country.
Naik has also informed that his Ministry will give priority to the state’s demand to include Bhubaneswar in the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and the Buddhist circuits of the state under in the list of five Buddhist circuits earmarked to be developed by the Ministry in the 2015-16 financial year.
It is to be noted that Panda had raised the issue at the State Tourism Ministers’ meet in New Delhi in August this year.
Even though Bhubaneswar qualifies as a heritage city, it was kept out of the scheme. Besides, the city was included in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites in April by a permanent delegation of India to UNESCO.
The delegation, in its report to UNESCO, maintained that at a national level, Ekamra Kshetra is comparable to the holy city of Varanasi.