It was developed under World Bank-assisted A.P. Community Forestry Project
The Forest Department’s prestigious Eco-Tourism Project “Vanavihari” in this forest belt has failed to keep the expectation of the visitors and tourists due to lack of maintenance, protection, care and sheer negligence. The seven spots identified under the ‘Vanavihari’ eco-tourism project are in a bad shape and no tourist will have another trip if once he or she visits this place.
Maredumilli Community Based Eco-tourism project, ‘Vanavihari’ (excursion to forest) was commenced in the year 2005-06, at Maredumilli forest village. The project was financed and infrastructure was developed by the Forest Department under World Bank assisted A.P. Community Forestry Project. Project was handed over to three Vana Surakshana Samitis (VSS) and Forest Protection Committees who became micro-entrepreneurs. A management committee of 18 members, drawn from all three villages, maintain and manage the project. The Forest Department also launched online bookings of its guesthouses for tourists from other parts of the State and country.
Journey by any vehicle to Maredumilli (90 km.) will be two hours from Rajahmundry and 120 km. from Kakinada. The eco-tourism project covered around 10 km. radius in deep forest area. The Forest Department had identified about eight spots as tourist attraction centres in this 10 km. stretch including Coffee Plantation project, Jalatharangiri water fall, Mandani Kunj Vihara Stall, Jungle star nature camp site, Nandanavanam, Karteekavanam, Amrithadhara and Forest Guest House with 16 rooms.
In bad shape
Coffee plantation on roadside is in bad shape . “We saw coffee plantation while going to Araku. They are being maintained poorly. Whereas creepers of pepper are hanging around long trees and the area of coffee plantation is very less”-said A. Nageswara Rao, SBI officer from Gudivada. He and his family were disappointed with maintenance of Jalatarangini where there is no water and at the entrance one can find rusted iron sign boards .
The main complaint of the tourists who come in winter season is that the drunken youth harass them on roads and at guesthouses. “Every Saturday and Sunday in all seasons, youth from Rajahmundry and other areas come and drink, Maredumilli forest and tease visitors on roads and quarrel with them. Some youth coming with girls pose as wife and husband indulge in illegal activities in eco-project guesthouse”-said a forest employee.
About 30 youth died in last three years and eight students lost their lives in last five months at Pamuleru stream in this area where there is no policing or watch by forest officials. Madan Kunj, another spot of tourist interest was looking as desert as the pine trees were chopped by AP Paper Mills in last year.
A panel of 18 members drawn from three villages manages the project The Forest Department also launched online bookings of its guesthouses for tourists
A panel of 18 members drawn from three villages manages the project
The Forest Department also launched online bookings of its guesthouses for tourists