Raja Varma, MD Sunray Properties, talks about his green initiatives

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The large mosaic of colourful flowers, green grass, and blue water-bodies make Sunray resorts a wonderful getaway destination for a holiday that’s both rejuvenating and relaxing. Yo! Vizag met I.A. Raja Varma, Managing Director of Sunray Properties, and the mastermind behind the grand scheme of things.

The Making of the Idea

Raja Varma, fondly known as Rajababu, started off with the family livestock business, handling poultry and prawn hatcheries. All was well till the break of bird flu in 2006. “We realised that we did not want to depend upon livestock completely, and needed to change.”

Real estate investment seemed lucrative and Rajababu worked on changing the layout around the vicinity of their industry. Beginning with 28 acres, and taking up a different approach, they started to make plots, with the minimum size being 800sq yards. The idea to go eco-friendly began at this stage as well, and they marked their plots with hedges and not compound walls. Plenty of grass was also laid out, to stress on the importance of greenery.

“Many think that laying out tar roads and using concrete reduces dust, but that isn’t the case. Vehicular dust wouldn’t have any place to go.” However, he shares that planting grass and cutting 16mm of it will ensure that the dust settles on the grass and goes into the soil again. Implementing simple technologies and ideas, in the larger scheme of things, has ensured that the resort, with its greenery, is a mosquito free zone. Important water bodies thus have guppy fish that do not let larvae breed at all. The resort also has a green house where the controlled environment enables a flourishing floriculture.

Striving Further

Rajababu is a man who’s not easily satisfied with the work he does; and so he has gone many steps farther than most. This is quite evident in the landscaping one sees at Sunray Resort.

Seeds for the hundreds of plants that grow here have been imported from Germany along with other raw materials that are imported as well. “Better quality of fertilisers, high potency seeds and even the coco peat, come from other countries so as to ensure the best flowering”, he tells us.
Flowers at Sunray thus bloom for most part of the year. Also, their scientific approach of raising plants, using fertilisers and even monitoring the water ensures better flowering.

Future Five Star

But it isn’t just greenery that Rajababu has his eyes set on. In November 2019, a five star hotel with 117 rooms, is about to come up by the beach. A golf course stretching across 20 acres of land is being developed as well.

“Visualise a very big green house”, he tells us regarding future plans. “This green house, made with polycarbonate sheets, will have plants and also restaurants. Such a concept is the first of its kind in India, as only London has this till date.”

The huge green house would have double-layered cooling pads and elements that make it harmonious both for people and plants. Many fun events are also being planned. “The full-moon beach party we did was very successful, and we plan to do it again on December 22.” Plans on starting a Sundown party by the beach are also on the anvil. The weekend affair would begin at 11AM on Saturdays and Sundays. It would feature breakfast and lunch buffets, water slides and high quality music. “More Sunray properties are also going to come up around the airport here.”

Vizag Plans

Referring to Vizag-based projects, he says that the concept of going eco-friendly has to be considered right from the time of designing. “Our roads aren’t yet designed to be eco-friendly, however after Cyclone Hudhud, some regions like MVP Colony are taking initiatives.”

With their Vizag city-based constructions slated to commence in 2019, he shares that he also wants to focus completely on flowers. With Sunray Resorts taking extra care to create the right environment for plants, he shares that companies providing high potency seeds and raw materials need to come up here as well.

Overcoming Obstacles

Talking of his most trying moments, he reflects on the time from recession to demonetisation, where they could tide through with their original market. Cyclone Hudhud too ravaged everything in the resort. However, with their immediate attention, and prompt action, 95% of plants survived, he shares proudly. “Within ten days we were back to being functional.”

They also had a close call when they almost had to give up the land for the airport construction. “However, our greenery saved us. When they saw the extensiveness of our project, the golf course, they decided to let it be”. Having crossed hurdles along the way, he shares that he finds great happiness and peace at the resort, and prefers to be at the resort than the Vizag office. Unlike business hotels where people stay thinking about the work they’ve come for, resorts are where people come to unwind and rejuvenate. “We have the most expensive imported fish here, a grand collection of plants, wonderful greenery and low pollution. Many people come and stay in our relaxed environment, and many destination weddings happen as people from nearby cities visit us. Watching them enjoy, makes me happy.”

Having been honoured with State Government Tourism awards for being a theme based resort, Rajababu connects it all to his humble beginnings. “We grew up in a village and so we know about fields and farming. With the hope that the future generation learns about it, we have just started to showcase our vermicomposting unit, the process of germination, and how to grow plants and organic vegetables to those interested.”

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