The Hyderabad High Court directed the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) on Friday, to respond to a petition that questioned the latter's move to upgrade an existing resort near Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam.
According to a report in the Times of India, a petition was filed with the HC, that alleged that the APTDC was mulling handing over the tribal area to private companies and develop a five-star resort in the area.
However, the state defended its decision saying that it had sent a notification asking for advice from private sector hoteliers to develop the area, and did not intend to hand the resort over, the TOI report added.
The petitioner's main concern was that the area was very close to Visakhapatnam's Agency area.
The Agency area is located in the Eastern Ghats, and is home to many tribal communities. 90% of the population in this area belongs to various tribal communities including particularly vulnerable groups.
According to the 2011 Census, the Visakhapatnam District has a population of 42,88,113. The Agency area consists of 17 mandals in total and constitutes 2,400 tribal villages.
The Principal Hill tribes living in the Agency are Bhagatha, Kondadora, Khond, Kondakapu, Valmiki, Kammara, Gadaba, Kotias, Porja and Nookadora. They mostly speak Telugu and a few speak tribal dialects like Gadaba and Kotiya.
Last year, the APTDC rolled out 25 new packages, to attract more tourism to the state.
These packages also included some areas in the state's tribal belt.
At the time, it was reported that the Visakhapatnam hub covers Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakapatnam districts, with places like Araku, Anantagiri, Arasavalli, Borra Caves etc.