Terribly upset at the decision of a government-sponsored team to reduce the area under Thotlakonda Buddhist site, Indian National Trust for Art, Heritage and Culture has decided to approach court if the status quo is not maintained.

Heritage lovers feel that the attempts to dilute GO Rt. 627 of 1978 in surveying the Thotlakonda Buddhist site on the Bhimili beach road is a glaring instance of how the tourism and real estate lobby is calling the shots.

INTACH activists are distressed to find that in the name of tourism and other development projects, various government agencies have been slicing out large stretches of land within the statutorily notified areas around some of these Buddhist and other sites.

The Thottlakonda survey is understood to have reduced the area under the monument to 181 acres from approximately 600 acres, according to S. Bhujanga Rao, a member of Forum for Better Visakha. Heritage lovers have appealed to the District Collector and others to ensure status quo.

Rani Sarma, INTACH district convener, said “we understand that a survey team has surveyed the site and finalised demarcation of the boundaries of the site according to which the extent covered by the site came to a little less than 181 acres.”

She said the boundaries of the site, as demarcated by the revenue survey team, was not compliant with the GO issued in 1978.

The GO clearly indicated the boundaries to be as follows. East: Survey No.295 and 296 and hills in the west, north and south.

While the boundary on the east should abut the Survey Numbers 295 and 296, the boundaries on the west, north and the south should strictly be along the lines where the hills surrounding the Thotlakonda site start rising.

“If this were to be complied with, the survey carried by the team is clearly erroneous and violation of the said GO,” Ms. Sarma said.

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