Delay in acquisition of irrigation land becomes an irritant

Upset by the inordinate delay in land acquisition for implementation of the ropeway project, an ambitious venture of the Vijayawada division of the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC), the tourism authorities in Hyderabad are said to be toying with the idea of shifting the location of the boarding point. Andhra Pradesh Special Chief Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Chandana Khan, who was in the city on Friday, is said to have expressed concern over the delay in implementation of the much-awaited project.

Acquisition of the Irrigation Department land at Seetammavari Padalu, proposed for setting up a boarding point for the cable car project has turned into a major irritant for the APTDC.

Informing that private investors were ready to take up the project on PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) mode, Ms. Khan, it was learnt, asked the APTDC officials to explore the feasibility of developing a base station at Haritha Berm Park, instead of waiting endlessly for the irrigation land.

Lack of inter-departmental coordination has marred the seemingly jinxed ropeway project time and again. Spelling out its ambitious plan to blend faith and recreation, the APTDC proposed to provide a quicker, comfortable, and picturesque route to pilgrims visiting the famous Kanaka Durga temple atop Indrakeeladri through aerial ropeway from a spot near Seetammavari Padalu.

The Irrigation Department refused to part with the said land citing its own development plans there in future. High-level talks between officials of the two departments apparently failed to yield the desired result, pushing the project on the backburner.

The APTDC ropeway plan has been replete with obstacles right from its inception. The initial plan to launch the base point at Rajiv Gandhi Park to reach the temple had to be shelved due to technical problems. Then there was reluctance on the part of the Endowments Department, which caused a considerable delay in the execution of the plan. Even as the APTDC was getting its act together, the Archaeological Survey of India emerged on the scene arguing that the new route could obstruct viewing of its properties – the Akkanna Madanna caves, en route the temple.

Considering the fact that the proposed project could serve the dual purpose of effectively reducing the pilgrim rush on the ghat road leading to the temple atop the hill and serve as an amusement ride for the devotees, the tourism corporation has been keenly exploring the feasibility of commercial operations to the temple site.

The tourism wing asked for one-and-half acres of Irrigation Department land to set up a lower station, vehicle parking area, and to accommodate other features like a lobby, a generator room, washrooms, and refreshment stalls among other things.

But the prolonged stalemate seems to have prompted the tourism officials to shift the venue of the project base instead of waiting endlessly for the Irrigation Department nod.

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