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Engineers' forum opposes Bhimili road-widening

By Our Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM, APRIL 21. Visakhapatnam consulting engineers' consortium opposed the plans of Urban Development Authority to widen Bhimili road to four lanes on the plea that it would lead to environmental problems and deprive local fishermen of their livelihood.

The consortium secretary, S. Gopala Sastry, in a press statement, criticised the UDA for taking up widening of Visakhapatnam-Bhimili road to four lanes -- christened Swarna Andhra Sagarateeram road -- in a bid to promote tourism.

It would only damage the ecologically sensitive hills on the coast, which would be converted into a concrete jungle with and exotic resorts and hotels, he said.

The tranquility and sanctity of the place where a holy Buddhist took up penance would be shattered. Also, the hills would be stripped of their natural beauty and vegetation, he contended.

Mr. Gopala Sastry pointed out that the Sagaratheeram road would be just a kilometre away from the four-lane road formed as part of Golden Quadrilateral by the National Highways Authority of India and hence it would become as redundant as Mumbai-Pune six lane expressway.

Only 16,000 vehicles pass through the expressway, which cost Rs. 3000 crore, as against the estimated 50,000 vehicles per day, he said.

Far from attracting tourists, the proposed road would pose a threat to environment.

The sea had advanced and eroded the beach road near Town Hall and old municipal office in 1966 and the proposed road too will face such problems in course of time, he said.

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