Andhra Pradesh government is seeking to push Visakhapatnam as a major tourism hub. With a lot of new activities in the recent times, Visakhapatnam is gradually developing into a popular tourist destination spot day by day. On one side, the citizens are happy for the city’s run as a tourist spot, while effects on the environment for the cost of developing the city is adding worries on the other side.
Environment activists in Visakhapatnam are raising their voices as the natural spots which are being developed by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism and Development Corporation (APTDC) to attract tourists are being neglected on an ecology level. Activists are arguing that tourism spots are turning to be a habitat for trash which is not being handled properly by the tourism officials.
The environmentalists agree on the fact that economic growth is important but until and unless it does not show negative effects on the environment.
Sohan Hatangadi, an environmentalist in the city, said “There are two things to consider when one mentions tourism. One is that it is a money-making venture which is desirable, as we need revenue. The government needs money and no one has any complaints about that. As long as it doesn’t impact locals and doesn’t decrease the quality of life in residential areas, there is no problem as such with high footfall.”
“The other part of tourism is when the government seeks to ‘develop’ fragile and eco-sensitive areas. There is a tendency to exploit our ecological heritage. This mentality afflicts a lot of young people. They have no benchmark as they have grown up seeing plastic strewn on a beach. They think that it is dirty now and it will get dirtier in the future,” he adds.
Sohan also states, “APTDC has a mandate to build in the agency area inhabited by Adivasis, where private parties can’t. They took advantage of this and completely ruined rocks that were millions of years old by opening them to tourists. Tourists now constantly climb on top and scribble all over the rocks.”
When the issue was brought in front of the government officials, they have mentioned to The News Minute that the tourist spots are being developed with efforts which would sustain the place ecologically for a long time. They are confident that waste from the locations is being disposed frequently and strict policies are being adopted.
Mr Mukherji said, “I can vouch that if one walks around the streets of Visakhapatnam at 4 am in the morning, they will see something that I haven’t seen anywhere in the country. Hundreds of municipal workers, without any supervision from the top, can be seen cleaning the streets. It is unbelievable. The GVMC and other municipalities are committed to ensuring that the cleanliness and sustainability challenges of an area are met on a daily basis.”
“At the tourism department, our business is to ensure happiness, while also ensuring sustainability. Already, some areas in Visakhapatnam have moved to solar power for their energy needs. Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu is also very clear that we must go green and adopt future practices today itself”, he added.
Credits: The News Minute