The issue of allotting the site for a spa and resort behind Thotlakonda figured recently during the visit of Public Accounts Committee of the State Legislature.

A proposal to set up a spa and resort near Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex, about 15 km from the city, has kicked up a controversy again.

GO No. 3 dated February 3, 2007 allotting 32 acres by Department of Youth Advancement & Culture for developing a resort under private sector was kept under abeyance after protests by heritage lovers.

The issue of allotting the site for a spa and resort behind Thotlakonda figured recently during the visit of Public Accounts Committee of the State Legislature.

“I strongly condemn the proposal if it is true. Any project, tourism or whatsoever within 200 metres radius of archaeologically sensitive sites is prohibited by law,” former Director General of Police C. Anjaneya Reddy said on Monday.

Asked for his comments, Mr. Reddy, who also served as the Chairman of AP Tourism Development Corporation, told The Hindu that promotion of tourism should not pave the way for tampering with heritage sites. Earlier, he had decried the move by the Navy to lay a 60 ft. road to access its facility at Thotlakonda.

The fresh development has brought the controversy over spoiling archaeologically sensitive sites to promote tourism to the centre-stage. The famed Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex located on a hillock on Beach Road from the city to 17th century Dutch township of Bhimunipatnam is at 128 metres above the sea level. It was once the nerve centre for propagating Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and other countries.

“I was shocked at the talk of allotment of site for a spa and resort during the visit of Public Accounts Committee. If it is true, the land allotment should be cancelled immediately as development of such facility will lead to defacing of the priceless Buddhist monastery,” INTACH-Vizag convener Rani Sarma said.

After objections from INTACH, a plan to bulldoze part of Erramattidibbalu, world famous red earth dunes, to develop shopping plaza for tourism promotion was dropped three years ago.

Greyhounds had also raised its objections earlier to develop a resort close to Thotlakonda.

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