Jewel of the Indian East Coast should get facelift for tourism

Visakhapatnam got a facelift to attract tourism. Visakhapatnam is a port city on the southeast coast of India and often called "The Jewel of the East Coast".

Jewel of the Indian East Coast should get facelift for tourism

Visakhapatnam got a facelift to attract tourism. Visakhapatnam is a port city on the southeast coast of India and often called “The Jewel of the East Coast”. With a population of 2,035,690 and occupying 621 square kilometres (240 sq mi). It is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district, and the second largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the third largest city on the east coast of India (after Chennai and Kolkata).

Visakhapatnam is located 625 kilometres (388 mi) east of the state capital, Hyderabad. The city is home to several state-owned heavy industries and a steel plant; it is one of India’s largest seaports and has the country’s oldest shipyard. Visakhapatnam has the only natural harbour on the east coast of India. It is nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and faces the Bay of Bengal on the east. Visakhapatnam is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district and headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.

Going by the way the beaches in the city look like, the plans of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and other authorities to give a facelift to the city and make it an attractive tourist destination appear farfetched.

The RK Beach, located strategically on a posh stretch of the city with many star hotels around, presents a sorry state of affairs.

Plastic spoons and bags, half-eaten food and other garbage can be seen littered on the sand, along with remnants of a recent religious ritual.

A visit to the beach proves that the GVMC is taking efforts to keep the beach clean, as around 45 cleaners have been employed at the site, who work from morning till five in the evening.

However, the absence of a proper garbage disposal system is ensuring that the GVMC’s efforts go waste.

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With no proper disposal system, the cleaners collect the garbage and burn it on the beach itself, a practice that is common across the city.

Some startling facts came to light when this correspondent spoke to a few of the cleaners.

They revealed that they have been hired on contract by GVMC and are being cheated of their salary by the contractor. The cleaners also revealed that every month, the contractor pockets Rs 500 from their meagre salary as commission, about which GVMC is doing nothing.

When asked, they said that they didn’t lodge a formal complaint as they fear for their jobs.

Along with the garbage, what makes the situation worse are the many drains that open right into the beach.

The sewerage water flows right through the sands into the sea which not just creates health hazard but is also an eyesore that would result in driving the tourists away.

At a few places on the beach, people could be found consuming liquor without any fear of authorities.

The cleaners said that this is a common practice and whenever there is an inspection by the authorities, the information reaches the miscreants and they pack their stuff and leave before the officials arrive.

Divya, who often comes to the beach for a walk, said, “The visitors and authorities are equally responsible for the situation. People lack the culture of keeping the environment clean and authorities don’t do enough to educate and stop them from littering.”

Sri Ram Murthy, the zonal commissioner seemed ignorant of anything wrong. He said, “We have given orders to our garbage collection personnel not to burn the garbage on the beach. Such a thing doesn’t happen.”

He added that the sewerage water that flows through the beach is treated and filtered.

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