Andhra Pradesh First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Seemandhra, Coastal Andhra, Telugu People and all the People of Andhra Pradesh – here at Home and Overseas
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    Visakhapatnam :

    The city’s first non-private tropical botanical garden has been developed in Andhra University at the botany department block under the watchful eyes of professors J Venkateswarulu, BS Rao and MOP Iyengar.

    Way back in 1946, the trio initiated plant growth in the department and specifically scourged the tropical region of north-coastal AP for rare specimens such as Red Sanders. Even today, the garden can be seen in all its full splendour, especially in the courtyard area and is still very well preserved.
    However, AU which was once a green haven is now being converted into a haven for ornamental plants which do not even belong to the sub-continent.

    The old botanical garden though tiny has retained its charm with more than 40 species of tropical plants and trees.

    “The botanical garden in AU is probably the first non-private botanical garden in the city. A lot of people do not realise that till then, Vizag had a whole lot of private garden residences full of exotic tropical plants. However, there was none which could have truly belonged to the public,” professor P Venkateswarulu  said.

    After cyclone Hudhud in October 2014, a lot of replanting work was done mainly because much of the old trees such as Red-Sanders and Sweet Tamarind took a heavy beating and had to be replanted again. Regarding the damage done, sources in the department said, “The damage was huge all across the district. However, the botanical garden is back on track.”

    Way back in 1946, professors J Venkateswarulu, BS Rao and MOP Iyengar initiated plant growth in the botany department and specifically scourged the tropical region of north-coastal AP for rare specimens such as Red Sanders. Even today, the garden can be seen in all its full splendour, especially in the courtyard area and is still very well preserved

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / by Venkatesh Bayyal / TNN / February 26th, 2017

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    A Appa Rao won the Disney Conservation Hero Award for his contribution in restoration of Krishna mangroves.

    A Appa Rao won the Disney Conservation Hero Award for his contribution in restoration of Krishna mangroves.

    Andhra University alumnus Allaparthi Appa Rao of Repalle village in Guntur district won the Disney Conservation Hero-2016 award for his contribution in the restoration of Krishna mangroves.

    The mangrove cover including the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary is a safe haven for Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) and smooth-coated otter.

    The California-based Wildlife Conservation Network has documented the efforts of Mr. Appa Rao in restoration of the mangroves and nominated him for the Disney Conservation Hero -2016 award.

    The Disney Conservation Fund has announced 15 Disney Conservation Heroes globally, including Mr. Appa Rao, for 2016.

    “We are impressed by your use of innovation mangrove restoration techniques to reforest mangroves and dedication to educate people in local villages about the importance of Fishing Cats and their mangrove habitat,” wrote Claire Martin of the Disney Conservation Fund in his communication to Mr. Appa Rao.

    The Fund honours conservationists who have gone above and beyond demonstrating passion, courage, and tenacity in tackling some of the biggest challenges in protecting the planet’s resources.

    “I believe that the global recognition of being Disney Conservation Hero will help in conservation of the mangrove cover in Krishna and Guntur districts as Fishing Cat, smooth-coated otter and other wildlife species are thriving in the mangrove cover,” Mr. Appa Rao told The Hindu .

    Mr. Rao was instrumental in documenting the presence of Fishing Cat in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary. As coordinator of the village-level Ecology Development Committees active in Krishna and Guntur districts under the Wildlife Wing of the Forest Department, Mr. Rao has been working with local communities in restoration of the mangrove cover since 2003.

    “I cherish to spend my days in the mangroves forest. It always fascinates me with diverse life of wildlife. Documentation of smooth-coated otter in the mangroves and study on Fishing Cat became key aspects of my routine life in the mangroves,”added Mr. Appa Rao.

    He manages a treasure trove of archives on the wildlife present in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary and the rest of the mangrove cover.

    The California-based Wildlife Conservation Network has documented the efforts of Appa Rao in restoration of the mangroves.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / by T. Appala Naidu / Machilipatname – November 09th, 2016

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    Women mangrove plant seed collectors engaged in work at Sorlagondi Reserve Forest in Krishna district.— Photo: T. Appala Naidu

    Women mangrove plant seed collectors engaged in work at Sorlagondi Reserve Forest in Krishna district.— Photo: T. Appala Naidu

    They have played a pivotal role in conservation of seven mangrove species

    Venturing into one of the rarest eco-regions of the world — the Sorlagondi mangrove forest— has become a regular chore for a group of ten women for two months every year.

    A visit to the dense forest in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary between October and November will offer a peep into their activity of collecting seed of mangrove plant species. The lesser known is fact that they became unsung heroes in conserving the seven mangrove plant species, including Avicennia marina and Avicennia officinalis. Like every other woman member of her group, Kokkiligadda Muriamma, 38, reaches the sanctuary before sunrise and begins her six-hour daily task of collecting seeds.

    The women belonging to Sorlagondi venture into the forest on barefoot. Holding a bamboo basket in their hands or a gunny bag on their shoulders, these women collect at least a few thousands of seeds and nuts of the mangrove plant species.

    Nursery-mode treatment

    “The survival rate of a seed that falls from the tree is very low. Hence, we peel the nut and raise it in the local soil for a week. The nursery-mode treatment to the seed is a success,” Ms. Muriamma told The Hindu. Usually, half of the seed germinates, much to the delight of the seed collectors.

    “We have been hired by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation to supply seeds and raise them in the reserve forest. We are being paid Rs. 170 each per day,” said another seed collector K. Seeta Kumari. “We are happy to be part of raising the forest. The two-month activity is all about how we spend our leisure time,” said Naga Laxmi Naidu, a seed collector. Recently, the women shared their experiences during a field study by experts who are working on the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / by T. Appala Naidu / Sorlagondi (Krishna) – October 14th, 2016

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    Scientist suggests agave and cactus plantation in barren lands.

    If you think the wildly grown plants have no role to play, think again. Plants like agave, cactus (opuntia) and sitaphal, having high drought resistance and rich in nutrients, have a purpose that is yet to be fully uncovered and unleashed.

    Agave is one such plant that is ‘wildly’ abused in India, in spite of its multiple benefits to nature as well as society. Its tough fibre is used to make ropes in Central America, while its cellulose is a key ingredient in Brazil’s paper industry. These apart, hecogenin, a steroid is extracted from its juice.

    Similar is the case of cactus, a regenerative plant known for its ‘carefree’ growth, which is confined to field fences. Categorised as a ‘Crassulacean Acid Metabolism’ (CAM) plant, the stomata open in nights to absorb carbon dioxide and closes in the day to facilitate photosynthesis.

    “It has been proved beyond doubt that natural calamities happen due to CO2 concentration and atmospheric vapour. CAM plants grown on a massive scale are the simplest solution to act as a carbon sink,” says Anumakonda Jagadeesh, Director, Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives, Nellore.

    In an informal chat with The Hindu , he explained how the Government can saturate barren lands with these plants to maintain equilibrium and as well kick-start the rural economy. According to him, the CAM family members yield fruits having nutritional values similar to apples and pomegranates.

    A cup of prickly pears contains 1.09 gm of protein, compared to a medium-sized apple’s 0.47 gm. “Israel is a major exporter of juice that fetches Rs.1,000 per litre”, he added.

    While the State is grappling with the menace of water hyacinth,

    Dr. Jagadeesh suggests a cheap and easy remedy. “The combination of water hyacinth and animal dung is the best source of biogas”, he pointed out.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / A.D. Rangarajan / Tirupati – August 08th, 2016

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    Hyderabad :

    Efforts are being made by the state government to increase the population of ‘Ongole bull,’ the pride of Prakasam district, which is on the verge of extinction. The state government tied up with University of Pennsylvania to achieve this objective.

    As part of the Milk Mission project of the University of Pennsylvania, the university will make efforts to increase the population of ‘Ongole bull’ and ‘Punganuru cow’ through artificial insemination (IVF) procedures, special chief secretary (Animal Husbandry department) Manmohan Singh has said.

    “The breed of Ongole bull is on the verge of extinction, hence the government had joined hands with Pennsylvania University,” he added.

    The Punganuru cattle, a popular dwarf cow breed, which are being reared mainly in government livestock farms, are also on the verge of extinction, with some 60 odd animals remaining. The University of Pennsylvania team will also work towards increasing the population of this rare breed of cow.

    The government, which had recently entered into an agreement with the Milk Mission project of the University of Pennsylvania, on Tuesday formed a six-member experts’ panel headed by Andhra Pradesh Livestock Development Agency (APLDA) CEO Dr PD Kondala Rao.

    The panel will work in coordination with the Pennsylvania University for implementing the project in the state.

    According to officials of the animal husbandry department, the university will help the state in enhancing milk production and cattle population in the state. As per the agreement, the university experts will impart training to farmers to enhance milk production, livestock population and transfer technology to increase cattle population.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Express News Service / July 06th, 2016

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    The Singapore-based consortium, which submitted its Swiss challenge proposal for the construction of Amaravati Seed Capital in an extent of over 1,600 acres, will be given an equity share of 58 per cent in the project.

    Earlier, it was proposed to share the revenue equally between the consortium and the Amaravati Development Corporation, which was called Capital City Development and Management Corporation, a special purpose vehicle floated by the government. According to the latest discussions, the share of the ADC now will be 42 per cent, mostly in the form of land.

    The revenue from the project will be shared in the ratio of 58:42 between the consortium, comprising Asendas, Singbridge, and Sembcorp Development Ltd., and the Singapore government with 74.5 per cent share in the consortium and the ADC respectively.

    Final decision today?

    “Chief Secretary, who is the Chairman of Infrastructure Authority, called for a meeting with Secretaries of five to six departments to consider all aspects on Wednesday. A final decision on accepting the Swiss challenge proposal is possible tomorrow,” sources said.

    Once the proposal submitted by the consortium, which had been fine tuned after several rounds of discussions to meet the norms, is cleared, it will enter into an agreement with the ADC. The proposal will be submitted to the Cabinet for its approval. Once the proposal is approved, it will be put in the public domain and invite better proposal from any competitor. If a competitor submits a better proposal, the consortium will have to match it to bag the project.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / by M.L.Melly Maitreyi / Hyderaba – June 22nd, 2016

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    Visakhapatnam:

    Around 100 acres of land has been identified by the district administration at Yerrakonda near Simhachalam for setting up India’s first exclusive Centre for Mangroves and Coastal Ecology under the Institute of Forest Biodiversity which is under the aegis of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education  (ICFRE).

    Vizag district collector N Yuvaraj said the foundation stone would soon be laid at the site. It would be a centre dedicated to study and research on mangroves ecosystem. “Considering that mangroves have been fast depleting due to shore-based development, the Vishakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) would take up professional regeneration and replantation of mangroves in 50-acres of area within the port at its own expenditure,” said VPT chairman M T Krishna Babu.

    Both the district collector and VPT chairman were speaking at the inaugural of the second national seminar on conservation, restoration and sustainable management of mangrove forests in India, hosted by the Institute of Forest Biodiversity (IFB), Hyderabad, being held in the Port City from June 15-16.Mangroves are trees that grow in coastal saline or brackish water in estuarine environment, where marshy soil conditions prevail.

    The district collector further said, “The Kerala model of identifying, notifying and conserving mangroves should be replicated in the rest of India. As a case study, AP forest department should also study it and begin the conservation work from Vizag. The district administration would provide all support.”
    VPT chairman Krishna Babu said there’s a need for a systematic action plan to improve the biodiversity index of various places, especially with respect to the native species. “Awareness generation should be through introduction about biodiversity in school curriculum, organising field trips and quiz and so on. When it comes to mangroves, around 100 years ago, Vizag was full of it. But now, most of it has been lost.

    Mangroves ecosystem support many species to thrive, absorb carbon dioxide and help tackle beach erosion. As a first step towards conservation, we need to identify and notify the mangrove patches on government lands (irrespective of their being patta lands) as reserve forests and conserve them. Also, since VPT has been held responsible for disappearance of mangroves due to our shore-based development works, we will therefore regenerate 50 acres of mangroves in our land with our own expenditure and take technical support from the scientists of the forest institutes concerned.”

    At his welcome address, GRS Reddy, director, Institute of Forest Biodiversity, thanked the district administration for allotment of 100-acre land to set up the mangroves research institute and said, “Considering the ecological importance of mangroves and the need for their conservation, an institute exclusively for research on mangroves is needed in Vizag. Work would begin this year and the foundation stone laying may happen by this month-end.”

    D Jayaparasad, additional principal chief conservator of forests, IFB and organising secretary of the seminar stated that Vizag has been chosen for setting up the mangroves research institute as it’s situated in the middle of the eastern coast and there’s a vast stretch of mangroves (59 %) on the east coast with 44% being in the Sundarbans. An interesting talk on ‘Mission Mangroves’ was delivered by the guest of honour and district collector of Kannuar  district P Bala Kiran. He deliberated on how 600 acres of land was surveyed and notified as mangroves reserve forest and how the remaining 1225 acres are being acquired from private parties so that the mangrove lands can be conserved.

    Another speaker Surendra Kumar, IFS and director of Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bangalore said India has around 4,640 square kilometre of mangrove area and recently 112 sq km were added. “Three districts have registered good growth including Krishna district, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Raigarh district, each adding around 15 sq kilometre mangroves. For better mangroves conservation, all stakeholders should be involved together,” he said.

    The inaugural session was followed by technical session, where K Kathiresan, professor of Annamalai University delivered his keynote address on ‘Mangrove Forests in India: Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Management’.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Visakhapatnam / Sulogna Mehta, TNN / June 16th, 2016

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    Asha Gunapati, a woman entrepreneur, who makes handcrafted organic soaps under her enterprise ‘Sreshta Skin Essentials’ in Visakhapatnam.

    Asha Gunapati, a woman entrepreneur, who makes handcrafted organic soaps under her enterprise ‘Sreshta Skin Essentials’ in Visakhapatnam.

    Asha Gunapati’s products are based on her belief that “what goes into your mouth should go on your skin”.

    Her range of soaps is natural and handcrafted with subtle fragrances. But they stand apart in their incredible designs making them look deliciously tempting. Cupcakes, jelly bars and whipped creams, so enticingly designed are the soaps that she literally had to keep a disclaimer — ‘Do not eat. It’s a soap’ — at her recently held exhibition at a mall in the city.

    An HR professional, who quit her corporate job to be with family, Asha started making handcrafted organic soaps as a hobby in 2013, and it was only last year that she decided to dive into an entrepreneurship venture to start her own line of products called ‘Sreshta Skin Essentials’. Now, she also provides employment to a team of eight underprivileged women who help her in making the organic soaps.

    Asha says her soaps are devoid of chemicals as she uses natural ingredients such as essential oils like lavender, tea tree, cedar wood and rose and carrier oils like olive oil, coconut oil and almond oil to make the soaps. Before starting her venture, she did a thorough market research on handmade soap brands in India and found that most of these soaps were very expensive.

    “I felt there was a big untapped market for natural organic soaps in the affordable segment. But if I had to make my products stand out, I knew I had to give equal emphasis to quality and design,” says the creative entrepreneur. With an initial investment of Rs. 6 lakh, Asha set up her home-based enterprise and started reaching out to customers through the e-commerce route.

    Her soaps come in a range of flavours like lavender mint cupcake, raspberry bar, rainbow soaps and chocolate cupcake and can be ordered from the websitewww.feminineindia.comor her Facebook page ‘Sreshta Skin Essentials’.

    “Initially, we were in losses since the manufacturing cost was way too high. The raw material cost itself was over Rs. 2 lakh, most of which are procured from Noida and Bengaluru. We use imported almond oil from France and Kojic acid, a natural whitening agent, from Japan,” adds Asha. She uses two methods in making the soaps — the cold process which takes about 30 to 45 days to make a batch of soap and the glycerine soaps that can be used instantly.

    Describing her entrepreneurial journey so far, Asha says: “It has been a roller coaster ride. I started the enterprise when my father passed away and I had to support my mother. It was the toughest phase of my life. But it was this business of making handcrafted soaps that helped me come over it. I put in all my creative energy into it. Sometimes it is great and sometimes it is tiring and backbreaking. My day starts off with me collecting online orders, processing them, checking the stock, packing and shipping them. If the item is out of stock, I make it. Amidst all this, I also like to experiment with new things and update my product list.” To reach out to more people, Asha showcases her work at various exhibitions. Her next exhibitions will be in Vijayawada and Bengaluru.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Visakhapatnam / Nivedita Ganguly / Visakhapatnam – June 01st, 2016

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    Efforts under way to tide over water crisis; long-pending ropeway will be a reality soon, says tourism official

    Place to be:The newly-constructed View Point atop Horsley Hills. (Right) The famous Governor’s Bungalow at the hill resort.—Photos: By Arrangement

    Place to be:The newly-constructed View Point atop Horsley Hills. (Right) The famous Governor’s Bungalow at the hill resort.—Photos: By Arrangement

    Horsley Hills, the one and only 160-year-old hill station in Andhra Pradesh, which faced the worst-ever water crisis in 2015, has a ray of hope this year with steady inflow of tourists from all over India, particularly from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

    The Kadapa District Collector during the British rule, W.D. Horsley, discovered the beauty of the gigantic 4,312-ft.-high hill near Madanapalle in 1857. In a record time of a couple of years, he had transformed it into a hill station. The resort gradually took the name of its discoverer.

    GovernorsANDHRA19apr2016

    It had served many a British officer and royal family visiting it to beat the oppressive summer heat in South India till Independence.

    Later, the hill station faded into oblivion. And it is yet to regain its lost glory. In spite of this, the very mention of Horsley Hills means romance and beauty to nature-lovers and tourists. After the State’s bifurcation in 2014, the hill station has topped the list of thrust areas of the AP Tourism.

    The accommodation potential has risen to over 500 tourists from half of the figure. An amount of Rs. 50 lakh was spent to construct tent-model cottages, which would be ready in the next few months.

    The annual revenue suddenly shot up to Rs. 3 crore from a few lakhs before 2014.

    The hill station has everything to attract tourists such as trampoline, meltdown zone, adventure combo, bull ride, canopy walk, and view points at dizzy heights overlooking steep valleys, mini-zoo park, swimming pools, and, above all, cool climate round the year, which feature has brought it the title ‘Andhra Ooty’.

    The Governor’s Bungalow and Forest Bungalow are an added attraction, for they have turned historical monuments.

    To meet the water needs of the tourists, the hill station completely depends on water pumped from the foothills.

    At present, water is being pumped to the hilltop through pipelines up to a distance of nearly 8 km in eight stages.

    The daily average consumption stands at one lakh litres. The consumption could be more in the summer months. In 2015, when groundwater totally dried up, the tourists were forced to return immediately on arrival.

    District Tourism Manager D.V. Chandramouli Reddy told The Hindu that the administration was all set to execute a master plan, giving top priority to overcome the water crisis and give wide publicity to attract tourists.

    “In fact, the space available on the hill is just two square km, and congestion will be another problem. In the next one decade, Horsley Hills will definitely be one of the best hill stations with global standards. The long-pending ropeway will be a reality soon,” he said.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / byK. Umashanker / Chittoor – April 19th, 2016

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    Of the many natural assets that Visakhapatnam is blessed with, the most valuable and unique are the Erra Matti Dibbalu (EMDs).

    EMDs of Bhimunipatnam were first reported by William King, deputy superintendent of Geological Survey of India in the year 1886.

    King called the stretch of 24 miles, between Visakhapatnam and Bhimunipatnam ‘badlands,’ representing great sand banks, in a dry terrain, where sedimentary soils were extensively eroded by wind and water.

    Scientists tell us that the EMD illustrate earth’s evolutionary history, including the climatic conditions that once existed at the site. Typically, such terrain has a multilayered colouring, which is both fascinating and attractive. Moreover, there are vestiges of the prehistoric man having lived in the area.

    Visakhapatnam’s Red Sand Dunes are invaluable inheritance, that need to be conserved through a conscious effort, both for their scientific as well as aesthetic significance. Conservation and protection of such marvels of nature is vital for the posterity, because once lost they can never be retrieved again.

    Citizen/heritage bodies of the city have worked hard to get the Geological Survey of India to recognise the EMDs as a Geo heritage site, which is no mean achievement. We must now go a step further.

    Even though when William King reported them in 1886, the entire stretch of 24 miles were marked with coastal red sand mounds, over a period of time most of them have been leveled, except for a small segment, which happens to be the most spectacular part, has survived.

    The beauty of the EMDs is such that tourists have been flocking to the place to admire them.

    Come Karthika masam, families gather there for kartheeka vanabhojanalu. While it is good that people enjoy the beauty of the sand dunes, unbridled unregulated footfall harmed the sand dunes. Even more harmful would have been the intervention of the department of tourism had it been allowed.

    Building a facility centre at the mouth of the seasonal stream that drains through the fragile eco system, a proposal for night tourism using beach buggies and camel rides are some of the spectacularly shortsited projects, which, mercifully were opposed by the heritage activists of the city. If those were allowed, EMDs would have been levelled with a year or two.

    EMDs are made up of loosely stacked sand, which is easily disturbed. Any harsh activity like indiscriminate clambering up the sand dunes or using vibration-generating vehicles in their middle will disturb them and hasten the process of deterioration.

    Unregulated tourist flow is neither in the interest of the tourists nor of the EMDs. As one goes deeper into the sand formations, the gully formation transforms into a veritable maze, the height of the mounds grows and if one is not careful, it is easy to lose one’s way.

    A greater threat to the EMDs is the mindless digging of the dunes for laying a four lane road and building a cement mixing plant right in the middle of the sand dunes, which was brought to light by the ever vigilant public view. The latest threat appears to be a housing society.

    Taking advantage of the momentum generated by Visakhapatnam’s ‘smart and clean city’ tags, we must elevate our tourism too to a global level.

    We must start working towards getting UNESCO’s recognition for EMDs.

    True, it would take a bit of leg work. But the benefits that will accrue make it worthwhile. To achieve that status, all the short sited and unsustainable tourist interventions proposed by the government in the EMDs must be given up forthwith, immediately. The district authorities, the state government and the heritage conservationists must work together and seriously. When the people and their governments come together, the synergy generated makes many things possible. Vizag can take a lead in the matter.

    There are the four fundamental features, which are an absolute prerequisite for an area to become a member of a UNESCO Global Park and on the face of it we fulfill all the requirements.

    Firstly, the area under consideration must have geological heritage of international value, which is assessed by scientific professionals, and is peer reviewed by an UNESCO Global Geopark Evaluation Team.

    Do we fulfill that requirement? Certainly.

    Geologists tell us that there are just three such formations in South Asia, of which we have one.

    Visakhaptnam is fortunate to have one such stunningly beautiful formation so close to the city.

    Earth scientists of the country and particularly of Andhra University have studied EMDs extensively and tell us that EMDs are of national as well as international value.

    Scholars have used them as a living laboratory, to explain to the students the evolution of the earth’s crust. Much literature has been written about it.

    The second requirement is that an aspiring Geopark must be managed by a body, which is created by a central Act.

    This takes political will of the people’s representatives. It is not the first time that such an Act was passed to protect an institution of national importance.

    Salarjung Museum was created by a central Act specially passed for that very purpose.

    The institution thus entrusted with the task of managing EMDs must involve the local communities and the other stake holders in its management plan. In the case of EMDs the local stake holders would be the villagers of Nerellavalasa and the local fishermen, who have a direct interest in the EMDs.

    For, in the year 1970 some 20 families of Nerrellavalasa were given pattas within the sand dunes by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

    The villagers planted cashew trees along the slopes of the dunes, which not only enhanced the beauty of the dunes but also helped in the prevention of soil erosion, as the root systems hold the soil together.

    So, the management plan must have a two-pronged strategy of protecting the site along with the interest of those that depend on it.

    The tourism interventions of the government so far have been aimed at evicting the pattadars of the EMDs and opening the EMD for the exclusive benefit of the tourists. Such interventions are violative of the United Nations’ principles of heritage conservation.

    Equally important is maintaining the sanctity of the dunes and stopping all intrusive activity which disturbs their pristine integrity. The landscape includes the ravines, streams, foliage, gullies, coast line and all the other natural in features in the area, in toto.

    No more building of roads in the immediate neighbourhood of the EMDs, no cement processing plants nor a housing colony in the mounds.

    Then the third requirement to get UNESCO Global Geopark is a total visibility to the world. This stipulation had to be put in place as at times some geological formations might be controlled by private bodies, which might restrict entry to the public.

    EMDs does not have that problem since they are located within a stretch held by the government.

    What, needs to be done to make EMDs more visible is to create a dedicated website, print leaflets, publish a detailed map of the area and make available information which is required for international tourists.

    Lastly, a UNESCO Global Geopark is not only about cooperation with the local people living in the UNESCO Global Geopark area, but also about cooperating with other UNESCO Global Geoparks through the Global Network. It must work together with the other global partners, across borders.

    It is high time the authorities in charge of tourism and the district administration take charge of the conservation of the EMDs seriously, and plan for the overall conservation of the area, once and for all.

    Getting the recognition of UNESCO will place the site on the global tourist map and bring international tourists.

    At present there are 120 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 33 countries. It would be a proud moment for Vizag, if we can join that network.

    (The writer is a heritage and environmental activist. She can be reached at ranisarma2010@gmail.com)

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India /News Home> City> Visakhapatnam / by Rani Sarma / April 10th, 2016

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