Bhubaneswar: With Odisha experimenting with innovative tourism products, the state government now plans to build a low impact tourism project with top-end facilities at Samal Island in Chilika lagoon.
Samal Island is a two-sq-km sandy islet in the brackish water lagoon. It is located nearly 5 km from the National Highway along Pathara-Khalikote stretch and surrounded by water from three sides and is considered as a gateway to Chilika for both domestic and foreign tourists.
According to sources, the island will be developed as a jetty lounge project with theme-based properties and linked to mainland through a well-designed four-lane road. The Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation (OBCC) Limited will prepare a detailed project report in this regard.
Among the key tourist amenities at Samal Island, visitors would be able to enjoy speed boats to visit both Honeymoon and Breakfast islands besides exploring the lagoon which is winter home for over a million birds as well as the Irrawaddy dolphin.
“The government plans to create top facilities at the island which will be sustainable with low carbon footprint. The infrastructure will be created keeping in mind the coastal zone regulation norms. It will be developed as a destination tourism product and gateway to Chilika,” said an official.
As part of the plan, a team comprising Development Commissioner Suresh Mohapatra, Finance Secretary Ashok Meena, Works Secretary Krishan Kumar, Tourism Director Sachin Jadhav and senior officials from Forest department and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation visited Samal Island for a survey on Thursday.
The island is expected to give a major push to tourism around Chilika as it would create a circuit with Puri, Konark and Bhubaneswar where big ticket redevelopment projects are underway around Jagannath Temple, Sun Temple and Lingaraj Temple.
“We are planning to have a chain of world-class properties in different regions of Odisha so that tourists can have a clear set of options in different brackets,” the official added.