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Environmentalists oppose projects near Lambasingi

Environmentalists oppose projects near Lambasingi
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As the state government and tourism department is exploring all the ways possible to increase the footfall and number of tourists at Lambasingi with a...

Visakhapatnam: As the state government and tourism department is exploring all the ways possible to increase the footfall and number of tourists at Lambasingi with a slew of initiatives, the environmentalists from the city are worried about the loss of its sanctity. They call it illegal as the AP Tourism Department has not involved the local gram sabhas at the time of planning a resort and home-stay facilities in the interior tribal hamlet.

Any construction activity in an Agency area is violation of the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996. If the state government fails to comply with the PESA Act, the environmentalists plan to file a complaint before the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) seeking judicial intervention.

The small village in Chintapalli mandal is often referred as Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh. Situated at an altitude of around 3,600 feet, the temperatures go beyond zero-degree celsius here during winter season. The members of Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) aim to make it a youthful tourist destination due to its cool climate.

Speaking to The Hans India on Friday, former energy secretary and convener of the Forum for Better Visakha EAS Sarma said that the tourism department seems to be going berserk without involving the local gram sabhas in conformity with the PESA. “Any project that violates PESA is clearly illegal. Whoever encourages such projects will be an offender under this law,” he said.

He said that he also wrote a letter to state chief secretary A C Punetha to ensure that no projects are taken up near Lambasingi in violation of the PESA Act. Earlier, Mother Earth Environment Consciousness Society (Meecons) president Ravikanth Reddy also raised serious concerns about the construction of tourism projects amid the green hills spot.

The tourism department has prepared plans to build a 40-room resort, two restaurants, a conference hall, open theatre, swimming pool and spa in 18-acre land at Lambasingi. Already, the construction has begun with an estimated budget of Rs 8 crore. The government further allocated Rs 6 crore for additional tourist attractions like boat ride in Thajangi Lake.

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