Puri Beach awarded the ‘Blue Flag’ tag
The citizens of Puri and the district administration were in for a pleasant surprise on Monday, as after the initial proposal and recommendation by the Government of India, the ‘Blue Flag’ tag has finally been awarded to the Puri sea beach. A prized tourist destination, Puri is an important tourism hub for Odisha and generates a significant chunk of the industry’s revenue in the state.
A Blue Flag tag adds to its brand value and will play an important role in attracting more number of tourists – both domestically and internationally. An 870-metre stretch of the Puri beach, from Digabareni Square to Mayfair Hotel has been developed as ‘Blue Flag’ beach under the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of the State Forest and Environment Department and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, hoisted the flag through video conferencing. Besides the Puri beach, seven other beaches in India got the same tag. Javadekar expressed his delight at the international recognition on Twitter. “Hoisted the International #BlueFlag at 8 beaches virtually. It is a proud moment for India that all the 8 beaches which were showcased have been awarded the coveted blue flag. I compliment and congratulate the State Governments, officials and people for this feat (sic),” he tweeted.
In a separate tweet following the declaration, Javadekar said, “We have indentified 100 beaches in the next phase and plan to make them of international standards in coming 3-4 years.” The prestigious Blue Flag tag is awarded by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark. Earlier, Odisha’s Chandrabhaga beach obtained the Blue Flag certification. To be eligible for a Blue Flag certification, a beach must meet 33 criteria set by the FEE – which covers several domains related to the environment, education, safety, and accessibility.