They have violated norms to visit tribal villages in Maoist-hit areas, says Rayagada district administration

Rayagada district administration has recommended the government to cancel VISA of foreign tourists who had violated government restrictions to visit tribal villages in Maoist prone area of the district.

The administration has also recommended the State government to blacklist the tour operator, which had taken these foreign tourists to that area.

As per the reports during past few days some foreigners were found to be moving around remote tribal villages of Padmapur block of Rayagada district bordering Gajapati district, which is also an area affected by Naxalites.

According to reports some Italian tourists had been spotted in the area last Sunday and on Monday some Canadians also reached the area.

These foreigners had also taken photographs of poor tribals at remote villages. It was clear violation of restrictions imposed by Odisha government on Feb 25, 2012 on the visit of foreign tourists and researchers to the areas inhabited by particularly vulnerable tribal groups.

Moreover, after the abduction of two Italians in Kandhamal district last year, foreign tourists have to take permission from police and administration for visiting Maoist prone areas.

Rayagada Collector Sashibhusan Padhi and Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pandit had initiated investigation into the reports of visit of foreign nationals to the remote tribal pockets without proper permission.

The danger of Maoists in the area visited by the foreigners could be assessed by the fact that a week back Maoist had cut down a tree to block a major road to the area.

Basing on the report of investigating police officials the Collector had contacted the State Tourism Department for information regarding these foreign nationals, their tour operator and their tour plan.

It was found that the foreign tourists and the tour operator had violated the permissions granted to them for their trip in Odisha.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone, the Collector said he had recommended the government to cancel VISA of two Italian tourists who had reached remote Pakilibandha without permission. Their tour operator has also been recommended to be black listed.

Enquiry is still on regarding similar act by the Canadian tourists.