NGT Issues Notice to Odisha Government Over Deomali Eco-Tourism Project

Koraput: The Deomali Eco-Tourism Project in Odisha’s Koraput district is facing trouble after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a notice to the State Forest Department, the Collector, and Koraput Forest Division. The notice comes after the Wildlife Society of Odisha (WSO) raised concerns about the environmental damage caused by the construction of cottages in the area.

In 2018, WSO filed a petition alleging that approximately 25 acres of precious forest land were being used for concrete constructions, impacting Deomali’s unique ecosystem with endemic species of flora and fauna. The petition also highlighted the absence of involvement of the local community or indigenous knowledge in the present Eco-tourism proposal, which is in violation of the MoEF&CC’s policy on Eco-tourism in Forest and Wildlife areas (dated 19.09.2018).

The Deomali Project, part of the Centre’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme, received additional funding of Rs. 16 crores from the Tourism Department for infrastructural development to attract tourists. Similarly, the Semiliguda Forest Range proposed a Rs. 4.5 Crores Eco-Tourism Complex, spread over 26 acres of forest land, which requires prior approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

The NGT has called for urgent attention to the matter, requesting all respondents to file counter-affidavits within four weeks. The next hearing is scheduled for August 23.

This development puts the future of eco-tourism in Deomali at risk and underscores the importance of addressing environmental concerns while promoting tourism initiatives.

You might also like

Comments are closed.