The village stays cool mostly, even during summers and currently the temperature is hovering below five degrees.

The tourist hotspot of APs Lammasingi and the plight of its forgotten villagers
news Tourism Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 17:30

Lammasingi, often referred to as the ‘Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh’, is a beautiful village on a hilly area of Visakhapatnam district, nearly 110 km from Vizag city. The winter season here has been attracting tourists for several years.

The village stays cool mostly, even during summers and currently the temperature is hovering below five degrees. But when it drops to below zero degrees, people can be seen camping and trekking.

Lammasingi panchayat consists of around 50 villages, including the interior areas, where people have hardly any connection with the outside world.

“Around 20% of the population of Lammasingi does not have access to proper electricity, while 40% people lack proper road connectivity and are forced to walk for five to seven km to reach the nearest bus stop,” says Raghunath, the sarpanch of Lammasingi village.

“Tourists come to the main areas of the village mostly. A few adventurous youth who wish to light a campfire in the forest take the help of villagers. They mostly come for a day as there are hardly any resorts here which can boost tourism,” he adds.

“Even if they improve the infrastructure in the village, it will help only a few. Is the government doing anything to mitigate their problems?” Raghunath asks.

In 2014, the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) had planned to initiate development of a resort and an eco-tourism project in a five-acre parcel of land in Lammasingi.

“Everything is on paper, hardly any groundwork has been done in the village, including resorts and hotels. Last year, Minister for HRD Ganta Srinivasa Rao had promised that a botanical garden would be developed. Interestingly, nothing has happened so far,” says Srinivas Ganjivarapu, president of Visakhapatnam-based Chaitanya - an NGO that works for tribal welfare.

The government has identified 21.16 acres of land for advance possession. “The lands are in Tajangi, Lammasingi and Vantamamillu and a proposal will be sent to the higher officials of the Tourism Department which will send a consultant to prepare designs for the development,” a source told The Hindu.  

But so far, nothing has moved on the ground in the area.

Even though it is a popular tourist place, many families stay away from Lammasingi due to lack of proper accommodation.

“Because of the foggy climate, its mostly the youth who come to this place for hunting and adventure with friends, but hardly any families visit because of a lack of connectivity and dearth of proper resorts in this area,” Srinivas added.

Tourists from West Bengal and Orissa are the main visitors who come to witness the scenic beauty of this village.

“The nearest town is Narsipatnam which is 20 km from this area and it has hotels and resorts. So people usually stay there and come early morning, and go back in the night. If they insist on staying, some villagers provide rooms for rent in their house for one night,” Srinivas says.

Srinivas adds that once the infrastructure is developed, it will lead to higher income for the local residents and will also increase employment.

 

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