Andhra Pradesh

TDP leaders confined to homes ahead of protest at Rushikonda

Telugu Desam Party activists staging a protest in front of the Rushikonda Hill in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

A number of senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, including Visakhapatnam (East) MLA Velagapudi Ramakrishna Babu and State president of TNSF (Telugu Nadu Students Federation) Pranav Gopal, were detained at home by the police ahead of the scheduled protest near the erstwhile Haritha Resort of the APTDC at Rushikonda, here on Wednesday.

The city police set up pickets in front of their houses, as early as 5 a.m., and did not allow the leaders to come out.

However, TDP Visakhapatnam Parliamentary Constituency president Palla Srinivasa Rao and former Minister Bandaru Satyanaryana were able to reach the site with a some supporters. But they were not allowed inside and they staged a protest on the road.

The TDP has been demanding clarity on why the State government had demolished the existing APTDC Haritha Resort, located on the Rushikonda Hill.

“We want the government to put the Detailed Project Report (DPR) in the public domain. There is no clarity, whether a new resort is coming up or the CM’s camp office is coming up at the site,” said Mr. Ramakrishna Babu.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Palla Srinivasa Rao said that a part of the iconic Rushikonda Hill has been demolished and still there is no clarity. The site falls under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) region and mining is prohibited in such region. But despite that extensive quarrying is taking place creating an environment hazard, he said.

‘No NGT clearance’

He also alleged that there was no National Green Tribunal (NGT) clearance and environment norms were being violated. The TDP leader also pointed out that the hill has geographical and historical significance and Vizagites identify it with pride. Such a spot cannot be vandalised in this fashion, in the name of development. If something has to be built, there is no dearth of land in Visakhapatnam, he said. A large number of police force was seen deployed at Rushikonda on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, TDP leader Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu has lashed out the YSR Congress Party government for razing the Haritha Tourism Resorts at Rushikonda and also quarrying off some porting of the hill in “violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) guidelines.”

In a recorded video clip on Wednesday, Mr. Ayyanna Patrudu said that the tourism resorts, constructed on the slopes of Rushikonda Hill, offered a splendid view of the Bay of Bengal and the green hills to tourists.

‘Project approved’

Earlier, the Minister for Tourism Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao had already clarified that the existing resort was demolished to facilitate the construction of a new resort and the project was approved by the The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and CRZ clearance was accorded by the ministry.

As per the project report submitted to the MoEFCC by the State government, the project is coming up on a land measuring about 9.8 acres with a built up area of 19,968 sq mts, at a cost of ₹240 crore.

Two phases

It will come up in two phases with ₹92 crore being spent for site preparation and road connectivity and ₹148 crore for building construction.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 4:09:54 AM |

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