Some ‘hope’ for this island despite hurdles

Not just the residents, many social activists and environmentalists are also opposing the proposal to turn the island into a tourist attraction

Published - May 25, 2014 11:16 pm IST - KAKINADA:

Hope Island, a beautiful island spread on an area of about 1,000 hectares near Kakinada, and which protects the city from tidal waves and cyclones, continues to be at the centre stage due to its potential for tourism.

Located in the Bay of Bengal about 15 km from the Kakinada coast, the island provides habitation to fishermen, and a variety of flora and fauna flourish on it. The government has been toying with the idea of converting it into a tourist attraction by improving transportation and constructing cottages.

Not just the residents of the island, but many social activists and environmentalists are also opposing the proposals by voicing their protests time and again. However, the government seems to be going ahead with its plan and the transportation has been improved to the island from the mainland.

“Developing the Hope Island as a tourist hub is on my priority list. I will go through the detailed plan and make necessary changes to it,” says P. Ravindra Babu, MP-elect from Amalapuram parliamentary constituency. Former MP G.V. Harshakumar evinced interest in tourism promotion in the island and allocated funds from the MPLADS for installing solar lighting system. A boat facility arranged by the AP Toursim from Jawahar Jetty to Hope Island, however, is receiving lukewarm response from the tourists and the officials are in two minds over continuing the service.

“Since Hope Island is a part of the Coringa wildlife sanctuary, prior permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests is mandatory to take up any permanent constructions there. Obtaining the permission itself is a tedious task,” observes R. Ramasubramanian, principal scientist from the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, which is working for the fishermen along the coast.

Pollution threat

“Tourism activity will result in environmental pollution, which will harm the flora and fauna on the island. Turtle varieties and migratory birds will be affected badly in the event of pollution,” points out P. Sathiyaselvam, conservation scientist from EGREE Foundation, an UNDP-funded service organisation working for the conservation of Coringa wildlife sanctuary.

“Coastal village Uppada Kothapalli is suffering soil erosion only because of the dredging operations taken up by the seaport on Hope Island. Toursim development is nothing but destroying the island completely,” says Dasari Satyanarayana, founder president of the Coastal Rights Protection Committee.

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