Bhubaneswar: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday laid the foundation stone of Utkal Upvan, an eco park being developed by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) as a tourist attraction in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district at a cost of Rs 14 crore.
The foundation stone was laid remotely through video conference from New Delhi by the Union Home Minister in the presence of Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi and coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain, MCL said in a statement.
Besides ”Utkal Upvan”, being developed to transform an excavated coal mine into an eco-park, MCL celebrated Vanmohotsav-2020 by holding a special plantation drive at all its project areas and offices spread over in Angul, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh districts.
MCL CMD B N Shukla participated over video conference in the launch of ”Vriksharopan Abhiyan”, a plantation drive by Shah and foundation stone laying ceremony along with senior officers. More than 17,000 saplings were planted while over 37,000 saplings were distributed free-of-cost for plantation in and around coalfields areas during this special drive focused on plantation of fruit-bearing trees. MCL has set a target for plantation of 1.22 lakh trees in 2020-21. The company has planted progressively around six million trees in Odisha over the years, the release said.
MCL, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, has taken an initiative to develop ”Utkal Upvan” at the decoaled portion of Lilari open cast mine, located at a 30 minute drive from Veer Surendra Sai Airport, Jharsuguda. The eco park will have cycling and walking tracks, childrens park, toy train, mine museum, adventure activities, like boating, skating, climbing, archery, botanical garden, eatery junction, auditorium and luxury cottages. This sustainable eco-park being developed near a nine-hole golf course and Koilighughar waterfall will also generate tourism-driven self-employment opportunities for locals, it added.