Keonjhar: Watchtowers are said to be major draws for tourists. However, such an asset has been left unused for tourists at Bhimkunda waterfall under Patana block in Keonjhar.
The watchtower built at a cost of Rs 1 crore was recently inaugurated. However, just two to three days after its inauguration, the watchtower was found locked.
Scores of tourists go near the watchtowers but return frustrated as they are unable to climb it to have a birds’ eye view of the natural surroundings.
Many tourists expressed their displeasure over disuse of the structure. Locals noted that if this facility is not used for tourists, the latter will not feel encouraged to come here.
Bhimkund waterfall under Patna block in Keonjhar district is located in stunningly natural settings. This beautiful waterfall and a reservoir on the Baitarani is located exactly on the borders of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj. Its environment is encircled with verdant green forests—equally charming for tourists and picnickers.
With the tourist season on, a large number of tourists from various parts of the district come here. Some even come for picnicking.
After the watchtower was built at a cost of Rs 1 crore, the administration charged a fee on entry of tourists and for picnicking.
A local youth association has been awarded the fee collection responsibility. Various quarters have resented non-use of the watchtower.
Members of the youth association voiced concern over closure of the watchtower for tourists. As a result, more tourists are turning away from here, it was alleged. If the place sees poor footfalls of tourists, it will impact business of fee collection by the youth association.
Dwarika Modi, president of the youth association, said nature lovers, tourists and picnickers have expressed unhappiness over the closure of the watchtower.
“We are worried about how to get back our tender deposits from collection of fees. The administration should think of opening the watchtower for tourists. Even a guesthouse nearby has not been handed over to the youth association,” he pointed out.
Tapan Kumar Modi, a member of the association said the administration should open up the watchtower and the guesthouse.
District tourism officer Ramesh Chandra Nayak said the watchtower is under the block administration and efforts will be made to open it soon for tourists.”
As for the watchtower issue, Patana BDO Iswhar Chandra Nayak said he was aware of the watchtower and the tourism officer can only say about the issue.
However, many tourists observed that whoever may be in charge of the watchtower, the tourism department should ensure the opening of the facility for tourists to attract more footfalls.