Rayagada administration decides to act tough

The Rayagada district administration has recommended to the State government to impose strict restrictions on entry of foreign tourists to around 29 remote tribal villages in the district.

The district administration has sent a list of these tribal villages to the State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Department, which would consequently send it to the State Tourism Department for necessary action.

The Stat government, following a controversy over human safari in the tribal areas, decided that no foreign tourist or researcher intending to visit the areas inhabited by tribal people can do so without a valid permission from the district Collector and Magistrate concerned.

Besides, no photography and videography of the tribal people would be allowed.

In case of any violation, criminal cases would be registered against the tourist, sponsor, and tour operator under appropriate sections of the law.

But, during the past few weeks, foreign tourists were reported to have visited tribal villages in remote Naxalite-hit zones of Rayagada district without proper permission.

The district administration had already recommended to the government to cancel the visa of some foreign tourists who had violated government restrictions to reach tribal villages in Maoist-prone areas.

It also recommended to the government to blacklist the tour operator, which had taken these foreign tourists to that area.

To make the restrictions clear to the tour operators, the district administration listed the names of tribal villages where entry of foreigners would not be allowed.

Speaking to The Hindu , district Collector Sashi Bhusan Padhi said these were villages which were under the Lanjia Saura Development Project and Kutia Kondh Development Project.