Visakhapatnam: Minister for tourism and culture Muttamsetti Srinivas inaugurated the renovated Buddhist stupa and amenities centre atop Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. Mayor Golagani Hari Venkata Kumari and VMRDA chairperson Akkaramani Vijaya Nirmala were present.

Speaking to reporters, the minister said the historic monuments Thotlakonda, Bavikonda, Pavuralakonda, and Red Mounds will be developed to attract domestic and foreign tourists. He said bus services will soon run up to Thotlakonda in the morning and evening for public viewing.

Stating that the tourism department lost considerable revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Srinivas said efforts were on to develop new sites and launch attractive projects to generate income. He said Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy was interested in developing star hotels with international facilities in Visakhapatnam and Tirupati soon and added that the new tourism policy will be implemented by Dussehra.

VMRDA Chairman Akkaramani Vijaya Nirmala suggested developing a meditation hall and other basic infrastructure at Thotlakonda while the Mayor said Thotlakonda needed to be developed as an international tourist destination.

Buddhist monk Dhammananda Banteji said he was fortunate to participate in the inauguration of the Thotlakonda Buddhist Maha Stupa and thanked the ministers on behalf of the Visakha Maha Bhodhi Society.

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