The recent two incidents of miscreants robbing the tourists of their valuables at gunpoint using country-made guns in the Eastern Ghat of Vizag Agency emerges as a major safety concern when there is an unexpected rise in the tourist inflow following the Covid-19 lockdown and cancellation of foreign tour trips. After being confined to their homes for months due to Covid-induced lockdown, not only are the tourists from other districts and states but locals also making a beeline to the Vizag Agency. Fall in temperature and scenic hilly locations are drawing huge numbers of tourists.
Last Tuesday night, on the ghat road near Dharalamma temple under Sileru police station limits in Vizag Agency, unidentified robbers intercepted a tourist car and robbed them of 40 gm of gold ornaments. Again, at the same place, the robbers robbed tourists of cash and gold at gunpoint. Miscreants used country-made guns to threaten tourists. When Hello Vizag contacted, Sileru Circle Inspector N Ranith said: “Police personnel are being deployed at key locations prone to crime. The incidents happened late at night. So, we request the tourists and devotees not to travel on the ghat roads during late night. We have formed a team to nab the culprits,” he added.
Spurt in tourist inflow is leading to traffic snarls in the Agency. The police and tourism authorities are also apparently least prepared to handle the flow of visitors. Mushrooming of unregistered tents has made it difficult for the administration to gauge the actual number of visitors and keep a tab on them. Many tourists are bringing their own tents for night stay in the Agency area.
Some residents of Vizag city who visited Lammasingi recently complained that ITDA and APTDC have failed to create the necessary infrastructure for tourists. Lack of planning is also leading to traffic jams for hours. “The police vigil should be increased in the Agency area considering the mindboggling increase in the number of tourists. Such robbery incidents would tarnish the image of our tourist spots and create a fear among the tourists,” said N Murali.
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