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Sustainable tourism need of the hour

There exists a sleepy, typical fisher-folk village in Odisha, a few hours from Bhubaneshwar. Twice a year, it houses a brilliant spectacle, when the endangered Oliver Ridley Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and later, during hatching.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2012 23:58 IST

There exists a sleepy, typical fisher-folk village in Odisha, a few hours from Bhubaneshwar. Twice a year, it houses a brilliant spectacle, when the endangered Oliver Ridley Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and later, during hatching.

Hatching is particularly delicate, because the eggs are laid just under the sand. Walk above them, they may not hatch. Shine the light to see the pre-dawn hatching, the hatchlings gets disoriented.

This village is one of the last remaining patches for Oliver Ridley Nesting; the area has shrunk as several industrial activities have come up on the Odisha coast.

How has the Odisha government reacted? Simply, by touting this as a spot for tourism. Instead of preserving this vulnerable heritage, Odisha’s department of tourism is inviting people to disturb this breeding turtle.

At a time when the tourism industry is finding ways to become sustainable, Odisha is moving in the opposite direction. The plan must be scrapped. The beach be accessible only to fisher-folks, the forest department and some scientists.

Nibbling at the Sambar Lake
The Sambar Lake, an hour from Jaipur, is India’s largest salt water lake. Thousands of water birds, including flamingoes, live and feed here. This is a sanctuary for birds, where they can keep a distance from people.

Even flamingoes are just a distant pink haze. Close to the lake, many patches of land have been fenced, with signboards of estate agents.

As this land is developed, noise, sewage discharge, vehicular pollution and the consequent shift in landscape could impact the lake’s ecology.

The government must treat areas within a kilometer or more, as buffer zones.