Tourist police cells fail to protect tourists in Odisha

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 16, 2024 IST

Tourists in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Feb 28: A Swedish national was sexually harassed by a sevayat near the north gate of Lingaraj temple here in February last week.

After around two weeks of the incident, another devotee was misbehaved by a sevayat for honorarium in the temple premises.

Similarly, a Dutch tourist Anthony Van Arkel was looted by a taxi driver during his visit to Puri in January. The accused allegedly decamped with cash worth Rs 6 lakh, a diamond ring and a camera.

The victim Anthony Van Arkel went to Nagpur on Thursday by the help of Odisha police and from there, he caught a flight to the Netherlands on Friday morning. The accused driver Sagar Mallik was finally apprehended by police from outside the State. 

This has proved the failure of eight tourist police cells in the state meant for safety of tourists to Odisha. In 2015, the Odisha government had set up eight tourist police cells in the state, including three in Bhubaneswar at Lingaraj, Dhauli and Nandankanan to ensure safety and security of tourists at vital tourism destinations. The eight tourist police cells are struggling with poor infrastructure and manpower, nine years after their establishment.

All the tourist police cells are struggling with poor infrastructure and manpower.

The Lingaraj tourist police cell has registered 21 cases between 2020 and 2022, most of the cases are snatching and theft from tourists.

The sanctioned strength of the tourist cell in Lingaraj police station is one sub-inspector (SI), an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) and a havildar along with six constables. However, the cell functions with an ASI and five constables.

The sanctioned strength of Nandankanan and Dhauli tourist cells is also the same. But Nandankanan tourist cell is functioning with one ASI and two constables while Dhauli has just one havildar.

Both the tourist police cells have registered 23 cases each between 2020 and 2022.

A cell was later set up in Khandagiri police station but the state government is yet to appoint its manpower.

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