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Newly proposed tourist centre close to famous Buddhist site in AP

Newly proposed tourist centre close to famous Buddhist site in AP
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Earlier this month, the inauguration of laying a foundation stone for the construction of a tourist amenities centre is close to a Buddhist site at...

Visakhapatnam: Earlier this month, the inauguration of laying a foundation stone for the construction of a tourist amenities centre is close to a Buddhist site at Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam. This created fear among heritage conservationists and members of INTACH.

Experts say that the buildings in the tourist centre will not only ruin the original heritage but also is against the standards issued by the courts.

During a foray in 1976, the Thotlakonda site was discovered by a helicopter pilot of the Eastern Naval Command. Later in 1978, through a GO, the AP government declared the entire site, 3148.45 acres under Mangamaripeta village. The ASI labelled seven acres where the stupa is located as the core area and fenced it. Later another 120 acres were fenced as protected area.

Conservationists claim that the proposed buildings are coming within the protected 120 acres but also about 40 metres from the core area.

“ Pending further orders, no construction or development activity of any sort shall be permitted within the boundaries of the ancient site of Thotlakonda as detailed in the GO 627 of 1978,” stated the High Court in 2016.

“We want tourism to develop, but not at the cost of destruction of protected areas and we have no objection s to construction beyond the protected area,” said Edward Paul of INTACH.

Mr. Paul also pointed out that the SC judgement in the Jantar Mantar case in New Delhi,2006, a distance of 100 metres has to be counted from the outer boundary wall of the monument which has protected area of 5.39 acres and not just the physical structures of the observatory.

But the District Tourism Officer Ms. Poornima said that there has been no violations and the construction site is being taken up 100 meters from the core area.

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