Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 3:
An embarrassed Odisha government has removed the “tourist destination” tag from the Trahi Achyuta ashram at Jhiinti run by fortune-teller turned self-proclaimed godman Sura Baba alias Surendranath Mishra, who is now in Crime Branch custody.
The state government’s Tourism department had accorded “tourist destination” tag to Trahi Achyuta ashram at Jhiinti under Balianta block in Khordha district in 2009.
“After considering different reports like the law and order situation there, ongoing Crime Branch inquiry and cases under Arms Act etc, we have removed the tourist destination tag accorded to the asharm. It was accorded in 2009 by the then tourist officer and Khordha collector when district level committees with the sub collector and ADM in it did not exist as they do now,” said Tourism Minister Ashok Panda here today.
Sources said the department took the decision after an internal inquiry was conducted to find out how and on whose recommendation the controversial ashram was included in the list of state’s tourists destinations.
In a bid to attract more tourists from India and abroad, the state government had glorified the ashram and its present head Sura Baba in its Khordha district portal. The Tourism department of the government too promoted it in a big way.
The government had also mentioned the website address and e-mail id of the ashram, phone numbers and a route chart for the tourists to reach the ashram.
The Khordha district administration had listed Trahi Achyuta Ashram with 10 major tourist sites in the district including Bhubaneswar, Chilika, Khandagiri, Dhauligiri, Nandankanan, Atri and Chausathi Yogini.