State Affairs

Rs 50 crore central grant for Puri fest

BHUBANESWAR

The Central Government on Saturday sanctioned Rs 50 crore for the Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath scheduled in July under the Prasad scheme, a national mission on pilgrimage rejuvenation and spiritual augmentation drive.

Announcing the decision after reviewing the preparation for Nabakalebara festival at the Secretariat here, Union Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma said this is the first release of funds from the Rs 600 crore Prasad scheme, reports New Indian Express.

The Minister said the Union Tourism Ministry has released Rs 50 crore for the Nabakalebara festival against the State Government’s demand of Rs 52 crore. Money will never be a constraint for the tourism development in Odisha, Sharma said and added that more allocation will be made under other schemes if required.

Sharma said the State can also benefit from the Centre’s schemes for Buddhist circuit, coastal circuit and religious pilgrimage programmes. The Culture Department is also planning to release coins, stamps, coffee table books and documentaries to highlight Odisha’s tourism potential including the Nabakalebara festival which will be held after a gap of 19 years.

The Centre is planning to give a new international tourism identity to Odisha’s rich culture and heritage by taking them to the people across the globe in collaboration with the State Government, he said.

Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, who was present on the occasion, however, expressed his dissatisfaction over the work of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the State. He said the work of ASI is not satisfactory in Odisha and it has to be expedited. Pradhan also asked the State Government to assist ASI in availing better quality stones required for repair work of different temples.

Pradhan claimed that the Centre had made provisions of about Rs 140 crore under different schemes of various ministries keeping any eye on the requirement for Nabakalebara festival. While Rs 10 crore has been sanctioned for development of artist village Raghurajpur, Rs 36 crore to Rs 40 crore will be spent for peripheral development of the Sun Temple at Konark and Rs 15 crore for light and sound programme at Konark, Dhauli and Khandagiri, he said.

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