VISAKHAPATNAM: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has proposed to undertake four projects at a cost of Rs 43 crore to boost tourism by giving a facelift to the city while restoring its heritage and traditional richness.
The corporation has given priority to the restoration of heritage buildings and the heritage walk in the Old City along the Bay of Bengal falling under Visakhapatnam South Assembly constituency at an estimated cost of Rs 18 crore.
GVMC has, with the help of the Visakhapatnam chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), identified about 12 heritage structures for restoration, including Queen Mary High School, Statue of Queen Victoria, Town Hall, Reading Room and Turner's Chowltry.
"It's a good initiative of the corporation as many of the buildings in the Old City are gathering dust because of the lack of care by the authorities concerned," said Kolluri Suryanarayana, retired professor of the department of History, Andhra University.
Among the other key proposals is the revitalization of the 70-year-old Sardar Vallabhai Patel Market, which is popularly known as Poorna Market and is one of the biggest markets in the state, at a cost of Rs 15 crore.
The civic body aims to develop this on the lines of the farmers' market at Mumbai. It will improve infrastructure facilities and also set up a special compost plant at the market premises to generate compost from the tonnes of vegetable waste from the market. Parking lots and recreation facilities for visitors and vegetable storage rooms are some of the other features planned.
At present, the market is in a sorry state and lacks infrastructure. This results in a dearth of customers for the vendors there as very few people frequent the place.
"If the GVMC's plans about Poorna Market materialize, we wouldn't worry about our income," said K Madhu, a vegetable vendor at the market. GVMC has also proposed to develop an eco-tourism project at Shambuvanipalem in zone-I of the corporation, where there is a slum at present, at a cost Rs 5 crore. The corporation hopes to draw tourists and picnickers to the place, which has the natural beauty of the hills and a lake.
The corporation has also decided to develop the Mudasarlova park along the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) towards Simhachalam and Central Jail. The park, which is located amid hills and lush greenery, has been gaining in popularity.
"The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) and Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (Vuda) are always in the forefront of tourism projects in the city. GVMC, which is always busy with sanitary and civil works, has mooted the projects to preserve Vizag's heritage and natural beauty as part of its city development plan for vision 2020," GVMC additional deputy commissioner (projects) B Nagendra Kumar told TOI.
The government would fund some projects through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, but GVMC would have to bear the cost of the eco-friendly projects, Nagendra said.
Sourav Dhar, one of the key persons behind the preparation of the projects, said that work on all the four tourism projects are expected to begin in 2015 and be completed by 2020.