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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bauxite mining protests hold peak tourist season of Araku hostage


VISAKHAPATNAM: The protests over the clearance given by the Centre to the Andhra Pradesh government for bauxite mining in the Agency area is now threatening to derail the tourism industry in Araku and Visakhapatnam.


Already, the TDP government has been forced to put off the Araku Utsav, which is held in November, by a month in view of the protests. The tourist season for Araku Valley and the port city commences in November and goes on till February. A large number of tourists from different parts of the country visit the Agency area, including places such as Araku, Lambasinghi, Ananthgiri, Borra Caves among others.

It is this rush of tourists that is in peril now. Hotels, tour operators and cab services -- majority of whom offer their services from the port city -- are worried about losing a major chunk of business if the government fails to address the bauxite-mining issue at the earliest.

According to industry sources, on an average around 70-80 private vehicles are booked by tourists on a daily basis from Vizag to Araku during the four-month season. In fact, almost 50 per cent of the business of the entire year is witnessed between November and February, said hotel industry sources in Araku.

"Whether it is the government or private hotels, majority of the business is seen during November to February, followed by the summer holidays in April-May. The tribals are unhappy with the decision of the government on bauxite-mining and if it escalates, tourism will be hit. In fact, it will put the entire ecosystem in disarray," lamented a hotel owner.


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