APTDC grapples with staff strikes and privatization concerns

Visakhapatnam: The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is facing a major hurdle as 263 non-regular staff in the Alluri Sitarama Raju (ASR) district have initiated an indefinite strike from Saturday to press their demands.

This development comes at a crucial time as APTDC gears up for the upcoming tourism season.

Adding to the turmoil, there has been news that the government has handed over the management of a part of the Rushikonda beach to a private agency. The process of tenders for this handover was completed on November 1, allowing a 'private' company to step into the tourism sector.

This move has further fuelled concern among the APTDC staff regarding job security and the potential impact on their working conditions.

In response to these concerns, Srinivas Phani, the APTDC regional director, addressed the issue in a conversation with Deccan Chronicle. Phani clarified that the Blue Flag certification beach would not undergo privatization.

He explained that as per the Blue Flag norms, manpower is essential, leading the APTDC to engage in one-year contracts with external companies. Previously managed by the BVG group and subsequently the Active Services group, the beach is currently under the control of the U-Tech group for manpower supply.

Regarding the ongoing strike in the Araku region, Phani acknowledged the staff's demands for a salary hike, upgradation and an increase in bus pass prices, all of which were approved by the APTDC.

However, he noted that the demand for regularisation and policy inclusion, beyond the APTDC's control, has been raised with the government through a formal proposal. Phani, who personally visited the situation, said administrative demands have been met.

He promised that the remaining demands have been sent to the government for consideration and approval at the earliest. In the event of an impasse, alternative options, such as sourcing manpower from other agencies, are being considered to ensure the smooth functioning of tourism services in the ASR district.

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