If you have been a tourist to Vizag you would have heard of ‘erra matti dibbalu’ on the way to Bheemli. If you are the adventurous kind, you would have walked a bit inside, got tired and would have returned back. These red sand dunes are one of its kind in the whole world and have a history of almost 20,000 years. Little attention was paid to the site for so long but things are now about to change with active intervention from the state government.
As the state government promulgated GO declaring Erra Matti Dibbalu (Red Sand Dunes) here as Geological Heritage Site, senior advisor to the Geo Heritage cell- Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) D Rajasekhara Reddy has appealed to conserve the site by taking immediate measures, including constituting a separate governing body to take care of it. The member also found fault with some developmental activities at the site by the Tourism department.
In an interaction with the media Rajasekhar Reddy said that the government released a note stating that out of 260 acres of red sand dunes, around 220 acre had been in possession of various agencies including INS Kalinga. Out of the 220 acre, around 118 acre is under INS Kalinga, around 95 acre are with some housing department, around 20 acre under the AP Tourism and 17 acre under government, said Rajasekhara Reddy. He also said that there was an immediate need to identify all the area of Erra Matti Dibbalu and fence it.
Rajasekhara Reddy also appealed to the Tourism department to restrict entry of vehicles into the geo-heritage site. He said that there were several proposals like introduction of bullock cart journey and other vehicles which could pose a threat to the sand dunes.
Reddy said the authorities should ensure that visitors don’t climb the Erra Matti Dibbalu, adding that that even the recently constructed view point (tower) at the site could endanger the site. “There were proposals like night tourism at Erra Matti Dibbalu. We vehemently opposed it as erecting light poles could damage the sand dunes. The development activities should be carefully planned,” added Rao. He also said that even picnics should be limited as people litter plastic wastes and other garbage during such programmes.