Bhawanipatna: Public demand has been growing for immediate renovation of Phurlijharan waterfall, a tourist destination inside Karlapat sanctuary in Kalahandi district.
Many members, including the chairman, of Shining Kalahandi, a local outfit, have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through District Collector Anjan Kumar Manik in this regard.
The outfit’s chairman Bhabanishankar Nial met the principal chief conservator of forests in Bhubaneswar and discussed about the memorandum containing 11-point charter of demands that was submitted to the Chief Minister.
According to reports, the waterfall and the tourist centre in Phurlijharan had suffered massive damage in July last following heavy downpour and thunderstorm. Since then, visitors’ entry to the area has been restricted with its gate remaining closed.
Resentment is brewing among the locals as the Forest Department doesn’t bother to take any measures to maintain the scenic site. Locals have expressed concern over the Forest Department not taking up any steps for its renovation, the report said.
Phurlijharan waterfall, just 15 km from the district headquarters town under Sagada panchayat, draws visitors throughout the year, thanks to its natural splendour. More than 50,000 tourists visit the site every year and their monetary contribution to the state exchequer is substantial, sources said.
However, the waterfall is in a pitiable condition as it lost its splendour since July 2017 following the natural calamity. The Forest Department has officially closed the spot for nearly a year.
At a time when the state government claims it does everything to boost the tourism sector, the present state of Phurlijharan waterfall presents a different picture, locals said.
Though the matter was taken up by the Forest Department and the district officials on several occasions, it yielded no results, the locals said.
The demands raised by Shining Kalahandi in their memorandum included: eco-tourism status to Phurlijharan; immediate repair of damaged facilities; erection of sidewalls on both sides of the fall; laying of an approach road; two kalyan mandaps; 50 public toilets; five guest houses; and illumination of the site.