Santosh Patnaik

Long struggle for justice yields positive result

Government issues orders in favour of tribals

Committee’s first meeting today

VISAKHAPATNAM: After a long struggle, tribals from Borra gram panchayat have emerged triumphant with the Government issuing orders for shelling down 20 per cent of the net profit from the million-year-old Borra caves for the development of villages in the periphery.

Acting upon the orders issued by V. Nagi Reddy, secretary (tribal welfare), vide letter no. 308/TW.Ser.III/2007 to the Managing Director, AP Tourism Development Corporation, a committee has been formed to discuss various works to be taken up.

The first meeting of the newly-constituted committee will be held at Paderu on Tuesday to finalise various works.

Mr. Reddy in his order referred to the Samata judgment by the apex court in which it was stated: “Business establishments should set apart at least 20 per cent of the net profit for the benefit of the local people.” He said it would be appropriate if 10 per cent of gross income from ticket sale at Borra is equated to 20 per cent of net profit.

He directed to keep it as a separate fund and the committee set up consequent upon the instructions by APTDC Managing Director, has Integrated Tribal Development Agency Project Officer as Chairperson and Anantagiri mandal president, Borra sarpanch and an official from APTDC as members.

After illumination of Borra caves in 1993, it became a hotspot attracting a large number of tourists, including foreigners, and received revenue in huge amount.

The people of Katika, Borragatevalasa, Jeeruguda and 10 other hamlets coming under Borra gram panchayat adopted resolutions last year demanding 20 per cent of revenue for local development and had also threatened to put lock to the caves if justice was not done. “We are very happy that finally we are able to get justice,” Borra sarpanch Samireddy Prasanna Kumar told The Hindu.