The Vijayanagara district administration has sealed off 16 resorts around Hampi that are operating illegally. The administration issued an order last week citing the rules and recommendations of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and UNESCO.
The order was issued by the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority (HWHAMA). Earlier, in 2021, about 40 resorts operating on Virupapur Gaddi (island) in Anegundi of Koppal were shut down.
HWHAMA Commissioner Siddarameshwara said the closed resorts were operating without any legal permission. “The permission from the authority is a must as it’s a UNESCO-protected area. Any kind of construction within a radius of 20 km is banned as per the rules.”
After the island’s resorts closed last year, the administration promised to find another suitable location where resorts could be built, but there has been no development in this regard, said the resorts’ owners.
“Tourism minister Anand Singh is aware of the issue and he had asked the administration to find an alternative site soon, but nothing has been done,” a resort owner said.
Another resort operator from Anegundi pointed out that tourists like to stay close to Hampi and business had just started to pick up after the two-year pandemic period. “There are no illegalities and many resorts have temporary structures to cater to the needs of tourists. If the tourism facilities are removed, how will tourism improve or benefit the locals?” he asked.