A development agency of the West Bengal government is setting up a tourist circuit connecting Digha, a coastal town in Purba Medinipur district, with another popular seaside resort Mandarmani along the 29.5 km-long Marine Drive route, an official said.
The Digha Shankarpur Development Authority is executing the project and the work for it is almost complete, he said. “Due to lack of an integrated circuit connecting Digha, Shankarpur, Tajpur and Mandarmani in the district, it is difficult for tourists to explore the entire stretch in one visit. Hence, people come to one spot only and return. “The Marine Drive will help them visit all these spots for a three-four day tour and explore the beauty of coastal areas of Purba Medinipur,” (Also read: West Bengal gears up to develop tourism, 10-day Durga puja package and trip to Sundarbans will be on offer)
DSDA Executive Officer Manas Mondal told PTI. Tourists can start from any of the four spots and cover the entire circuit, he said. The project, which began in 2018, entailed an investment of ₹173 crore, and three bridges have come up at Nayakhali, Jalda on the Champa river and Soila on the Pichhaboni river in the Marine Drive route to make communication easier. “Due to some ongoing work at Tajpur and road repairing in around one-km stretch there, the entire Marine Drive cannot be opened immediately. It will be done very soon,” Mandal said.
The Marine Drive will reduce the travelling distance by around 10 km for any visitor if one wishes to explore multiple tourist destinations in this coastal belt, he said, adding that one km-long Nature’s Trail with butterfly Park and bird aviary in New Digha will also come up. The DSDA also plans to beautify a large water body, around 500 metres away from the old Digha coast and make it a nesting ground for migratory birds, Mondal said. “We have seen four-five species of migratory birds come to the lake which has been formed by sea water through a creek. We are developing it in such a way that more migratory birds will come, and this spot can become a tourist destination,” the official said.
The confluence where the Champa river meets the sea is also being developed to make it another tourist attraction and the spot is next to the Marine Drive road, he explained. Mondal said a 300-year-old Kali temple in Shankarpur and the under-construction Jagannath temple in Digha will also be two other attraction points of the circuit.
The open-air live performance on the sea beach in Digha and beautification and illumination in the area has already attracted visitors. To a question, another DSDA official said around 20-25 lakh tourists used to visit Digha from January to December in pre-Covid time. In the past two years, not more than 2-3 lakh came in 2020 and 2021 each, the official said. With improvement in the COVID situation, tourists are flocking in high numbers to the coastal town in recent months, and the DSDA is expecting a 30 lakh turnout this year, he said. Once the Jagannath temple is completed and opens for devotees, the annual tourist footfall is expected to exceed 35 lakh, the official added.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.