Khammam: Tourism spots wallow in neglect even after the formation of separate Telangana State

Khammam/Bhadradri Kothagudem: The tourist places in the erstwhile Khammam district are facing neglect even after formation of separate Telangana State. A sizeable number of devotees and tourists visit the district every day to offer prayers at historical temples such as Bhadradri and have a glimpse of many reservoirs, lakes and parks.

However, the State government failed to promote tourism is the district much to the disappointment of the tourists and local populace. The historic Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple built in 16th century by the Lord Rama devotee Ramadasu (Kancharla Gopanna) on the banks of river Godavari in Bhadrachalam is the major pilgrim centre in the erstwhile district and is popularly called as South Ayodhya.

During the statehood movement, the TRS leadership promised to give importance Bhadradri temple and develop it by allocating funds. After coming to power, the State government did not take interest in the development of temple, feel the residents of the temple town.

In 2016, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had announced that Bhadrachalam town including temple will be developed with Rs 100 crore. Funds were not sanctioned to take up works even after three years.

Bhadrachalam has potential to emerge as tourism spot because of its vicinity to the picturesque Papikondalu Hills on the banks of river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. Every tourist, who visits Papikondalu intends to spend some time in the temple town.

The Parnasala temple close to the Bhadrachalam has mythological significance. But it is in neglected state. The same with the case of Nelakondapalli village, the birthplace of Ramadasu, near Khammam. Nelakondapalli is also famous because of Bouddha mahastupa believed to be built before 350 BC. After the State bifurcation, the Telangana government spent only Rs 10 lakh for setting up lighting and for other works at mahastupa.

The other places like Ganapeshwaralayam and Mukkanteswaralayam temples, historic Khammam Fort, Paleru and Kinnerasani reservoirs and different lakes are in need of dire attention. In 2016, Rs 20 crore sanctioned for the construction of glass building and food court at Kinnerasani project and a hotel for tourists at Kothagudem. But the works are moving at a snail's pace due to delay in release of funds.

When contacted District Tourism Officer Suman Chakravarthy, he said that the proposals have been sent to the government for the development of tourism spots in the district.

Former Union Minister and ex-Khammam MP G Renuka Chowdary speaking to The Hans India over the phone alleged that the State government has fully neglected Khammam and its tourist places and temples. She claimed that nearly Rs 9 crore was released for the development of tourism in the erstwhile district in her tenure as the union minister during 2004 to 2006. "With the funds, a tourism hotel was constructed in Bhadrachalam at a cost of Rs 3 crore and a tank bund was developed at Paleru reservoir with Rs 60 lakh. Kusumanchi temple, Khammam Fort, Wyra and Yellandu tank bunds have been developed by spending crores of rupees," she stated, adding that the credit of developing tourism in combined the district goes to the Congress-led UPA government. The present TRS government did nothing to develop the erstwhile Khammam district on tourism front, she alleged.

"There are many historical and mythological places in erstwhile district, and it can be developed as a tourism hub by providing more funds," said a tourist K Srinivas Sharma. He made an appeal to the government to release Rs 100 crore for development of Lord Rama temple in Bhadrachalam. The Telangana government developed only Lakaram tank bund with the funds of Mission Kakatiya, he said, while asking the government to give similar priority to other tourist places in the district.

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