The state government has prepared an action plan for improvement of sanitation and hygiene during Nabakalebara in Puri.

Unfazed by stiff opposition from environmentalists, the tourism department on Sunday privatized sanitation work on Puri beach. A Bhubaneswar-based voluntary organization would carry out the cleaning instead of the local municipality.

In the first phase, the outsourced agency has engaged nearly 80 sweepers, who would clean the beach from 6 am to 10 pm. "Subsequently, the agency would press into service a mechanized sweeping machine on the beach," tourist officer (Puri) Bijay Kumar Jena said.

Once bitten twice shy.

BHUBANESWAR: It was left to voluntary organization Barefoot to emerge the lone saving grace for the state by winning an award at the National Tourism Awards ceremony in New Delhi on Monday in the category of best responsible tourism initiative for implementing Green Rider Rickshaw project in Puri.

While the state government drew a blank at the meet as two of its nominations did not impress the jury, Barefoot volunteers were ecstatic at winning the award. "It is an honour to receive the prestigious award from the President of India. Our community-based initiative and hard work won us the award," said Barefoot founder Yugabrat Kar.

BHUBANESWAR: The state government has asked the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to finalize special regulations for installation of telecom towers in Bhubaneswar and other urban areas in the state within 15 days.

State housing and urban development (H&UD) secretary Injeti Srinivas, while reviewing the progress of the proposed regulation on February 28, has asked the BDA to expedite the finalization so that it can be sent to the H&UD for vetting and subsequent approval.

BHUBANESWAR: In a move that may cheer up poor rag-pickers in the state capital, the state government has asked the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to set up plastic waste collection centres