Film shoot stopped at Erramatti Dibbalu

Film crew coming out of the Erramatti Dibbalu on Tuesday. \  

A film shooting was stopped on Tuesday at the coastal red sand dunes, which is popularly known as Erramatti Dibbalu, near Bheemunipatnam. The site was declared as geo-heritage site by the Geological Survey of India in 2014 and as the protected site by the State government in 2016.

Officials from the Departments of Tourism and Revenue reacted immediately and stopped the shooting, after video of the shooting that was uploaded on the social media by environmentalists Sohan and Jaishri Hatangadi had gone viral.

Senior officers from the Revenue and Tourism Departments said that the film unit under the banner Lucky Media had obtained permission for the shooting from Bheemunipatnam Mutually Aided Co-operative Building Society, a layout that lies adjacent to the heritage site, from February 28 to March 2.

“But they trespassed into the heritage site and we inspected and told them to leave immediately,” said Bheemunipatnam Tahsildar Easwar Rao.

The revenue officials also confirmed the claim of the villagers from Nerellavalasa village, a village adjacent to the heritage site, that an earthmoving equipment was used to flatten some of the dunes to pave the way for the film crew and material.

“This is a serious violation and it needs to be investigated and strict action should be initiated. It was surprising to see men and material be moved right into the core area,” said D. Rajasekhar Reddy, Adviser to Geo Heritage Cell of INTACH and former professor of Geology, Andhra University.

According to him, every heritage site has a core area and a buffer zone of at least 200 metres around the core site. “In this case both were encroached by heavy machinery and authorities concerned need to take care that such things are not repeated, as the site is a very fragile geo-heritage site,” said Prof. Reddy. Visakhapatnam has recorded geological connection from the present day to 1500 millennia. The last major climate shift took place about 18,500 years ago, which was called the Glacial Maximum or the ice age. This unique natural formation of Erramatt Dibbalu, is part of the continuous evolution of the earth since millions of years and it represents the late Quaternary Geological age or the last ice age, said the professor.

It is a unique geo-heritage site, and only two such sites are present in the world — one in Sri Lanka and the other in Chennai.

Mr. Sohan Hatangadi said that the site needs to be fenced and guards are to be deployed. Entry for tourists should be through designated gates. Locals also should be educated to serve as protectors of the site, he said.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 11:47:16 AM |

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