Visakhapatnam: While the current cold weather conditions are drawing lots of tourists on a pleasure trip to Lammasingi in Vizag Agency, the beauty of what is hailed as “Andhra's Kashmir” has been ruined by garbage.
Lack of attention from the civic authorities to keep the area clean is cited as a main reason for the filthy environs, complain local residents.
The average footfall here is about 15,000-20,000 per day in the peak months of November, December and January, and mainly during the weekends. Tourists here camp in tents set up by private and tourism operators.
Plastic waste, polythene covers, broken liquor bottles, leftover food and used food carrying sachets among other trash turn these pristine greens into a dumping yard.
Located 110km from the city, this area is located 3,600 feet above mean sea level. Tourists flock to this place when temperatures fall below 5 degree Centigrade in the winter. "Tourists come here to enjoy the cool climes. The reading was less than 3 degree Centigrade recently. Tourists simply throw things away, they give no attention to keeping the area clean and green," said a resident.
The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) erected signboards everywhere, cautioning tourists about the cleanliness and avoiding use of plastic in the area, but no one is monitoring the ground situations on a daily basis.
Nearly 200 private operators arrange camping facilities for tourists in tents and around campfires. They charge Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 per tent, depending on demand and availability. They care two hoots for cleanliness.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, an APTDC official said it has 20 tents at Lammasingi but follow proper steps as per the protocol to keep their premises and camping tents neat and tidy.
"It is the private operators' responsibility to keep their tents clean. The tourists also should cooperate with all of us," the tourism official said.
The inflow of the tourists here increased from October and is continuing now, due to the decline in the spread of the Covid19 and the massive vaccination exercise. Tourists from different areas like Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Vijayawada and Tirupati come here to enjoy the beauty of the Eastern Ghats. They are welcomed by the chirpy sounds of the birds in the foggy weather during the morning hours.
Lammasingi is 3,600 feet above mean sea level
120km away from Vizag city
More than 200 private entities handle tent camping facilities for tourists
Nearly 5,000 tents are available for camping
Popular for late-night parties, birthday parties
Boozing is unofficially allowed here...