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Tourism Issues

in
Public Domain

March 1994
Contents

1. A Highway to Prosperity? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
• Ajit Koujalgi

2. Issues of Land Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


• Nina Rao

3. The Bane of Cultural Pollution . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22


• C. K.Meena

4. Coastal Conundrum ................... 29


• Tapas Ray

:; Confronting lNCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
• Joshua Karliner

6. Bekal Tourism Project. . .. 49


Published by

Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS)


168, 8th Main Road
Behind Indiranagar Club
Bangalore 560 008
Ph: 5582313

Cover design by

Gireesh Vengara

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Verba Network Services


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Ph: 3346692


Foreword

Operating in an area of activity (critique of tourism issues)


generally considered as 'unconventionai'; we derive satisfaction
whenever we find these issues reflected in the so-called
'mainstream'.

As such, we are happy to be able to publish - from secondary


sources - articles and papers that discuss several of the issues
we have been involved in over the past year or so. With a single
exception, all were written by friends (including members of the
Board) of EQUATIONS, and we are proud to acknowledge their
contribution to the evolution of tourism critique in India.

Ajit Koujalgi's piece on the East Coast Highway in Tamilnadu


(also known as the East Coast Road) amply details the ecological
and other objections to this massive project. EQUATIONS has
been an active member of the East Coast Road Campaign
Committee - the only non-Tamilnadu based member - which
has been in the forefront of action against the project.

Nina Rao's pap3r on Golf illustrates the need to locate the antigolf
campaign - spreading in various regions of the world - within
an understanding of international tourism's 'fourth periphery', and
in the context of conflicting demands on land-use. EQUATIONS
drew attention to, in a study last year, a golf resort coming up near
Bangalore, focusing on the effects it is likely to have both
ecologically, a's well as in terms of displacing local populations
socially and economically.

C K Meena's article on the commodification of the Gajamela


(known to Kerala's Tourism Department as the Great Elephant
March) leads us to reflect more intensively on the cultural impact
assumptions which are so much a part of anti-tourism activity.
Once again, we were involved in some of the campaign

iii
preparation, and present at the protest action, well-documented by
our photographer friend Natesh Ullal.

Tapas Ray's detailed coverage of the controversial deal involving


thousands of acres of revenue and forest land in Orissa includes
the objections raised by the Orissa Krushak Mahasangh (Orissa
Farmers' Federation), and the struggle led by it against this. While
the campaign has now taken on a lower profile, EQUATIONS is in
touch with the leaders of the Mahasangh as plans for a future
course of action are being drawn up.

Also, we have included an open letter we wrote last July, in


response to a media debate that took place (between a senior
Kerala Tourism department official and environmentalists) on the
huge Special Tourism Area project at Sekal. Apart from this
letter, we have been involved in various ways on the Sekal issue,
including an audio-visual we have just produced for greater
public awareness of the project.

Finally, we are happy to share with our readers, an article by


our friend Josh Karliner on strategies that NGOs and activists
could adopt against multinationals operating in the Third World. As
tourism becomes increasingly dominated by multinational
corporations, we believe it is time we evolved effective campaigns
which take into account this reality. Certainly, this has been one
reason we focused part of our efforts last year on the role of
economic liberalisation (and the so-called New Economic Policy)
in the Tourism Action Plan of 1993.

We hope this publication will encourage readers to get involved


in and support the actions of people concerned \vith tourism in
India. We would certainly appreciate your responses, suggestions
and comments.

K T Suresh
Coordinator

iv
A highway to
prosperity?
A/it Kou/algi

he Tamil Nadu District Highways and Rural Works Department

T (DH RW) wants to convert an existing coastal road in bad repai r


into a double lane h ighway, th ree or fou r ti mes increase i n
width , half a metre rise in height a n d realignment in several sections.
The sch e me , if ful ly implemented, will' result in displacement of
h u ndreds of families and the felling of over 6,000 age-old trees. The
" i mprovement" is felt necessary for the "development" of the coastal The scheme, if
fully
region.
implemented, will
result in
The project is named "imp rovement of East Coast Road" . Much displacement of
of the confrontation is centred on what constitutes " improvement". hundreds of
But this is not just a semantic debate. The D H RW is well aware that families and the
felling ofover
h ighway p rojects require an Environmental I mpact Assessment
6,000 a,ge-old
( EIA) according to the M in istry of Environment and Forests' (MEF) trees.
Envi ronmental Guidelines for Rail/Road/Highway Projects. These
g u idelines requ i re evaluation of i mpacts, examination of
costlbenefits of the alternatives, give two-year advance notice to
people who will be dislocated, arrang e alternative housing , even for
the squatters, and so on. These g uideli nes and also the p rovisions
of the M EF Coastal Zone Regulations (CZ R), formulated to p rotect
the sensitive coastal areas from adverse development, have been
conve niently ignored. It is in an attempt to avoi d these
responsibilities that the p roject has been termed as j ust an
" i mprovement", a move which is rathe r a strange phrase for a road
costi n g over Rs. 50 lakhslkm.

Only after I NTACH (I ndian National Trust for Art and Cultu ral
Heritage) and othe rs raised objections, and the Madras High Court
stayed tree cuttin g (in December 1992), did the DHRW prepare an
Envi ronmental Appraisal Report (DHRW Report) to get clearance
from the MEF. This report is revealing to a d iscerning reader: its
dreams of "develop ment" are alarmi ng for those who know the
coastal situation .
Tourism Issues in Public Donwin

"The improvement of the road along the East Coast will give a
boost to agriculture, farming, plantation... etc., and usher in a future
of well-being to the local village population and result in their
upliftment and socia-economic development, education, health
care, family welfare etc. The hitherto deprived and underprivileged
people inhabiting this area and undergoing vicissitude of nature like
annual cyclone ... will find succour and relief in their homes
consequent to allround advancement and improvement in
economic standards which is a direct outcome of the accessibility
by improved road system." DHRW Report. Page 7.

This quote from the DHRW makes the ECR project seem
extremely beneficial, even messianic, on its face. The planned
highway is supposed to connect Madras with Kanyakumari, a
distance of 737 km, passing close to the shoreline. The work on the
The planned first phase between Madras and Cuddalore has started on two 15
highway is
. km stretches as well as a number of culverts and bridges. In the
supposed to
latest development the Asian Development Bank has now decided
connect Madras
with to review all aspects of the project would also cover its "technical
Kanyakumari, a aspects." The ADB proposes to send officials to India for an
distance of 737 assessment of the project.
km, passing close
to the shoreline.
The existing coastal road is a pothole-pitted partly single and
partly double lane meandering along the coast and through nearly
fifty villages. Its present carriageway of 3.5/5.5 metre width is lined
with shade-giving banyans, tamarinds and neems, which often give
way to the palms and beaches of the famed Coromandel Coast. Its
proposed replacement, however, is a double lane highway with a
uniform 10 metre wide carriageway on raised embankment, built on
National Highway standards, which will destroy or seriously affect
over a thousand homes, as well as schools, temples and tanks.

Clean earth, air and water are essential to support life, and the
reason why we break environmental problems down into three
primary categories - air pollution, water pollution, and loss of natural
. habitat. The ECR project seriously threatens all three, but first let us
loOk at the water situation.

"The underground water is the main source of potable water, not


only to local villages, but even for supply of urban areas like Madras.
The improvement of road will only improve the existing system of
water transported by tankers." DHRW Report, P. 21.

2
East Coast Road

Such an unrealistic attitude regarding water could be fatal to the


DHRW's dream of creating prosperity through development.

In recent years there has been a decline in the groundwater


levels in towns and villages situated along the coastal road (drop in
water level from 1986-1993: Pondicherry 150%, Mahabalipuram
50%, Cuddalore 325%) These are drought prone areas where little
surplus water exists, and where river flow is only seasonal. Thus as
per the DHRW report, the road would not only increase water
requirements in the area as a result of industrialisation, but would
also exploit a crucial resource in an already sensitive area, specially
if the plan to ship it out to Madras is fully carried out.

The Chief Engineer, Ground Water, PWD, Madras,


Mr. Ramanickam, has expressed the need for extreme caution as
regards further development of groundwater resources along the These are
drough t prone
coast. This has led the Centre to ban financing of any groundwater
areas where little
development within 1 Okm of the Tamil Nadu coastline. surplus water
exists, and where
When groundwater becomes saline, it not only loses its value as river flow is only
drinking water, but soon leads to the build up of salt at ground level, seasonal.
and the eventual loss of soil fertility. Awareness of this has led States
to consider banning any deep borewells within six kilometers of the
coastline. Yet, the water quality data available at the Central Ground
Water Board, Madras, already indicates a sharp increase in the
salinity level of groundwater in villages along the coast (increase in
salinity from 1978-1986: Pondicherry 60%, Mahabalipuram 35%,
Cuddalore 46%). This reality seems to have escaped the DHRW,
or is deliberately ignored by them, in that almost the entire coastal
highway, all the way to Kanyakumari, falls within 6 km of the
coastline.

A big highway which splits villages it passes through will


adversely affect social and econo'ilic life. People will lose land,
trees, village squares, temples and tanks, which form the centre of
village interaction. The DHRW claims only 25 houses will be
affected, but in reality the figure will be over a thousand (see box).
Further, because the ECR planners are only interested in fast
vehicular traffic, they have made no budgetary or design provisions
for proper drainage or the creation of footpaths where the highway
passes through built areas. The result is that houses next to the
road are likely to get flooded as the road level, due to embankment,

3
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

will be h igher than plinth levels. This has al ready been seen in
Goonimedu where during this (1993) monsoon a number of houses
were flooded .

Field su rveys carried out i n coastal villages have shown that the
majority of the people are seriously concerned about the negative
i mpacts of a major h ighway and the ensu i ng developments,
namely the salination of their g roundwater and soil, pollution,
noise and the inevitable increase in traffic accidents. Also, they
realise that a major highway is not guaranteed to bri ng direct
benefits to the local population . Apart from some mechanical
workshop and tea-shop owners, the sort of major developments
envisaged are on ly l i kely to benefit outside industrialists and
entrepreneu rs. As confirmation they point to the fact that many
new industries i n thei r area hardly e mploy any l ocals, and even the
As in the case of EGR itself i s being built mostly without the e mployment of local
other labou r.
environmentally
controversial
projects, the ECR Recently I NTAGH made a thorough analysis of the cost-benefit
proponents also figures, which form the basis for ADB loan sanction, as p resented
argue tha t they in the DHRW's Techn o Econo mic Feasibil ity Study in 1988. The
should be allowed latter report is built al most entirely on u n realistic assumption s about
to go ahead and
complete the
benefits, together with den ial of the real costs of the project. If one
project in "public takes into account the cost overrun from Rs. 560 to 945 mill ions that
interest" has already taken place, assu mes real istic maintenance costs, and
prunes overstated benefits, the resu lting internal rate of return ( I RR)
falls from a 25 per cent to six per cent. The latter figure fails to meet
even the interest burden on the loan .

This drastic reduction in I R R still does not include social and


envi ronmental costs, the cost of accidents and delay, and the cost
in terms of property d amage and destruction. If all these were to be
taken into account as per ABO's own Operational Man ual . " ...
envi ronmental i mpacts m ust be incorporated into the val u ation of
the benefits and cost i n the econo mic analysis of projects," (ADB)
Env i ronment Paper No.1 0, P 5), the EGR p roject would have never
been sanctioned .

As in the case of other environmentally controversial projects,


the EGR proponents also argue that they should be allowed to go
ahead and complete the project in "public interesf' as plan ned,
because Rs. 24 crores h ave already been spent:
4
East Coast Road

''There is no reason to halt the progress of ECR p roject


commenced i n Apri l 1991 and proposed to be completed i n four
years ... 15% of work having been completed so far and as much as
Rs. 24 Crores having been pumped i nto the project til l n ow . . . " (Page
2 1 , DH RW Counter-affidavit) .

This i s a ridiculous argu ment. Havi n g inappropriately spent


Rs. 24 crores is to reason why the rest should be spent i n the same
man ner.

Meanwhile, it must be poi nted out that even after 2% years (si nce
the work began) barely 4 per cent ofthe road stretch is approaching
completion (km 120- 126) and only another 16% of the work is in
various stages of incompleteness. I t is to be emphasised here that
environ mental objections have played n o role in the delay. When
I NTACH first approached the Tamil Nadu G over n ment i n Completion cost,
looking at the
September 1992 nearly 4 0 km of the first phase - of which 2 8 km
way things are
are now cleared by MEF - had al ready been cleared of trees, and
developing, is not
work was i n progress. likely to be less
than Rs.120
Another important point arises concerni n g the qual ity of crores.
execution: In the section nearin g completion al ready serious pot­
holes and cracks have developed (e.g . around km 125) because of
substandard material and work. Owing to faulty design water is
getti ng trapped i n the sub-base, and the embankments show signs
of heavy erosion . Some experts feel that the road may even have
to be redesi gned and rebu ilt in stretches. This and the provision of
proper drainage and pedestrian facilities in the villages - till now
neither planned nor budgeted , but desperately needed - is bound
to push the costs up. The original cost estimate of Rs. 53 crores
already stands corrected at Rs. 85 crores, and the road is n owhere
complete. Completion cost, looking at the way things are
developing, is not likely to be less than Rs. 120 crores.

Considering t he above it may be prudent to scale d own the


project from National Highway to "District Road" Standard in
stretches where work has not yet begun. Th is can be achieved
without acquiring additional land (one of the causes for delay) and
major socio-environmental i mpacts.

A highway along the coast between Madras and Cuddalore is no


longer necessary, now that the M adras-Villupuram highway {NH
5
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

45). which runs within 30 km from the coast, is being converted to


a four lane super highway. INTACH 'has suggested - specially with
future tourism potential in mind (see box) - to marginally widen and
resurface the existing coastal road to serve local needs. If required
an alternate route for a state highway (see map), south of Villupuram
and 10-40 km inland, should also be explored as it would serve a
larger section of the population being accessible from both sides,
and would not face the onslaught of cyclones and coastal weather.

As far as local development is concerned, and the prosperity of


the coastal inhabitants, a smaller improved road will do the job quite
satisfactorily. It is also in keeping with present trends, wherein
sustainable development options, based on local human and
natural resources, are preferred over dependence on top-down
extraneous development where outsiders exploit local resources for
quick monetary gains. All this points to the need for a Regional Plan
In spite of well
documented for the sustainable development of the coastal area before
objections and infrastructure decisions are taken. It is a matter of concern that the
constructive Govemment of Tamil Nadu has so far chosen to regard those
alternatives, the opposing the ECR project as "adversaries", seeing them as people
official reaction
trying to stop "developmenf' instead of as people concerned about
has been one of
myopic denial of appropriate development. In spite of well documented objections
any serious long and constructive alternatives, the official reaction has been one of
term impacts. myopic denial of any serious long term impacts.

The central issue around ECR is one of development: what kind


of development, and for whom. People and NGOs (the East Coast
Road Action Committee today consists of representative:; from
more than a dozen organizations working in the coastal 3rea)
opposing the ECR are demanding a sustainable development
programme for the coastal belt. They would like to work towards this
objective with the Government, and are looking for a participato!'!
partnership, not confrontation. The only condition is that the
al,!thorities do not insist on building the ECR as presently planned
at any cost. Surely it is in the interest of the Tamil Nadu Gover'lnwnt
to harness the capacities, experience and commitment of these
NGOs, and the interested coastal inhabitants, to try to achieve what
everyone is talking about, especially after the Rio Summit, which
endorsed the concept of sustainable development. It would be a piiy
if this opportunity is not utilized to try out a true and sincere
partnership between people and the Government. The ADB's
decision to assess the project will add to the already existing
difficulties they face incompleting the project.

6
East Coast Road

Property destnlctioll

"No disturbance is being done to villages, towns, or habitation. Major villages


of Mahabalipuram and Marakkanam are being bypassed. Only 25 houses
are proposed for acquisition in the entire road by giving adequate
compensation." DHRW Report, P.80.

While 25 is a nice number, it is also a blatant falsehood. A recent survey of


14 villages south of Marakkanam has revealed that nearly 380 houses are to
be destroyed and a large area of agricultural land converted to roadway. The
DHRW had been acquiring land under emergency provision even th ough the
construction started 21-11 y ears ago.

MEF guidelines, in fact, require two years notification. Th e DHAWs use of


emergency provision is now being challenged in the courts and is likely to
add serious delays plus increased cost - to any further construction. To top
this, the ADS loan agreement requires that all the land acquisition be completed
before the contract is awarded (Loan Agreement Schedule 6, para 5).
For the patta property holders who get compensation for their land,
resettlement will be costly and a real headache. Hasim Badshah of
Pudupattinam, for example, was threatened by government officials th at his
house will be demolished without compensation if h e protested. He is also
not optimistic about employment opportunities due to EGR, as he h as seen
th at the nearby Kalpakkam Atomic Power Plant employs only eight villagers.

Meanwhile, the road alignment has been changed to avoid land/property


belonging to the influential and wealthy - as in Pudupattinam, where the EGR
takes a circuitous route, even though it means 2 km extra; and in Vilambur,
where it goes at a slant instead of straight, destroying more th an 10 houses
belonging to the poor, but leaving th e property of th e wealth y and influential
intact. For th e non-patta landholders, however, th ough they h ave been
squatting for several decades, the loss is truly a disaster: they will not get any
compensation. Over 1,000 non-patta h ouseholds will h ave to move. Yet the
DHRW h as no resettlement plan.

Current Status
In a latest development the Asian Development Bank has decided to review
the whole EGR project including environmental issues. The project has
already been strongly opposed by NGOs on the ground th at it will endanger
the ecosystem of the coastline.

In June 1993 the Tamil Nadu Government filed a counter-affidavit in the


Madras High Court to get the stay on tree cutting lifted. After several hearings
th e High Court issued an interim order in October asking th e State
Government to comply with th e recommendations of th e EAC, appointed by
the MEF, which allows work on ECR to be continued on only 28 km of the
168 km between Madras and Cuddalore.

In the EAC's opinion a h ighway in the coastal area is inappropriate. Only


where construction has progressed considerably would it be appropriate to
complete started sections, a damage control measure in order not to
endanger traffic safety.

7
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

TOUriSlll potential

The tourism potential of coastal Tamil Nadu, the famed "Coromandel Coast",
remains as yet largely untapped, its long stretches of unpolluted beaches, its
magnificent World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, its Nature Conservancy
areas such as Point Calimere, Kaliveli Tank and the Gulf of Munnar
Biosphere, its unspoiled villages, backwaters and sacred groves, and its
places of special interest like Pondicherry, Tarangambadi and Chidambaram
all combine to give it enormous potential for tourism.

However, this potential could be seriously spoiled by laying a highway through


the area, leading to heavy traffic (10,000 trucks/day) and pollution due to
industrial/urban growth, all of which will inevitably degrade those qualities that
are most attractive for tourists. Tourism and industry simply do not mix. What
tourists, especially foreigners, want is beauty, peace and qUiet, unspoiled
natural scenery, and a rich mixture of cultural interests. For this they will pay,
and pay handsomely, bringing in foreign currency to benefit the national
economy.

The tourist industry, if managed in an ecologically sound manner, could be


the ideaJ "industry" for a sensitive unspoiled region such as the Coast of Tamil
Nadu. A "scenic route" is what tourists enjoy, not a dangerous Highway full
of roaring trucks, racing buses and deadly accidents, with factories and
similar commercial enterprises set along the way.

The next decade will see the development of eco-tourism, and we in India,
blissfully ignorant of latest trends in the West in our rush to ape the Westem
model of development (with 20 years time lag), are all set to kill the goose
that lays the golden eggs. Has the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department, for
example, ever thought of providing mountain bikes on hire so that people
could cycle down all the way to Kanyakumari, enjoying the quiet and
unspoiled pristine beauty of the coastal landscape? This kind of tourism has
a definite future. the question is, do we want a share in it?

This article has been reproduced from The Hindu, 1611/94

8
Issues 0'£ Land use
Conflict and the pleasure periphery in Golf Tourism

NinaRao

oday there is a sudden i n terest in reporting on the controversy

T regarding the construction of Golf cou rses, in the I n djan Press.


Perh aps the focus on golf is di rectly related to the search for a
solution to the problems India faces with regard to its tou rism pol icy.1
I n 1992 India received 1 .83 million tou rists but sent out 2 .6 mill ion
tou rists . To reverse this trend , we have started to consider the option
of golf tourism, in line with the policy in itiatives of oth er Asian
destinations , which have achi eved a take off point in InYir � ational Yet these
developments are
tou rist arrivals. The Department of Tou rism brochu re"G"dn in I ndia
not taking place
" says "that Golf here wil l enable you to experience the cou ntry in
for the sake of the
its own unique manner"; Yet these develop ments are not taking sport or the local
place for the sake of the sport or the local people but to attract the people but to
tourist golfer and international golf competitions.2 attract the tourist
golfer and
i"ternational golf
Tou r operators and travel agents a re g oing all out to promote competitions.
I ndia as a golfing destin ation. The Department of Tou rism h as also
sensed that Golf tou rism in our mild climate can bri ng i n the money.
Wolfgang Pinder of Pinder Reisen , a Ge rman Tou r operator,
estimates that there are 42 million Golfers around the world who
travel abroad on an average about 3 times a year for g olf holidays.
Golfers are upper income travelers who spend $ 200 a d ay for a
h ol iday l asti n g a week. A tri al ru n of a group of 100 golfers will b e
b rought in b y Travel House which h a s m a d e an a rran ge ment with
the Delhi Golf club to charge a green fee of $ 35 and the Calcutta
Golf clu b for a green fee of $ 3 for a rou nd of golf.

P h u ket in comparison , charges $ 100 G reen fee per round . In


Japan four hours of golf costs $ 300. However, there are p roblems
in p ro moting I n d i a as a Golf destination over its Asian neighbors.
Ai r fares to India are 25 % higher. Hotels in India a re co mparatively

Nina Rao teaches tourism s tudies at the Col/ege of Vocational Studies, Delhi
University. This paper was presented at the World Leisure and Recreation
Association (WLRA) World Congress, at Jaipur, December 1993.

9
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

more expensive and I ndian cities do not have cuisine to suit


international golfers.

The development of golf tourism raises two interesti ng theoretical


iss ues. The first relates to the nature of international tourist flows
and the dependency that they create in thi rd world cou ntries. The
second raises the issues of conflict in the process of tourism
develop ment which helps us to locate resistance to change i n the
context of any developmental policy. Th is shows us the extent to
which power and conflict are inter-related .

The fi rst methodological task is to place Tourism in I ndia in the


global context. India is a thi rd world country whose people "see
themselves i n the expl oited periphery of the power centers of the
,,
global p rocess of modernization 3 and the development of golf
India is a thi rd
courses as" an expression of the consumerist desires and
world countryopportunities of those who are economically and poli tically powerful
whose people
"see themselves
but spiritually poor." 4
in the exploited
periphery of the Secondly, we have to understand the spread of mass tourism
power centers of around the world to such an extent that today we can observe a
the global 'pioneer front' which is constantly moving away from the highly
process of
moderni:mtion "
industri alized metropolitan lones to open u p , at a rapid rate, the
farthest and least developed peripheries. s The push to the pioneer
front comes from the desire of metropolitan tou rists to seek the
cli matically favou rable "mediterranean seas" , a concept that covers
the Caribbean and Asian waters.
In order to better u n derstand the spread of modern tou rism to
desti nations where it is a new industry, the spatial expansion model
devel oped by E. G ormsen p rovides us with a historical con text as
well as a methodological too l .
Using t h e sea-side holiday a s a focal p.oint Gormsen points .o u t
that sight-seeing a n d cultural tours are n.ot of much i mportance
today. He therefore suggests that the first periphery of I nternational
tou rism extended from the coast of England (the pi.oneer of the
sea-side holiJ:lay) to the opposite European coast and then to the
Baltic. The t.ourists were the aristocracy whose nationality did n.ot
matter since they were all interrel ated.

They traveled by coach and by boat f.or several days to reach


thei r coastal vi llas. By the mid-19 Century, with the increase in
10
Golf Tourism

industrialisation and a growing midd l e class, the first periphery was


pushed further and the bourgeois now joined the el ite on a journey
of a day or two to the palace hotels along the promenades. It was
time to extend the first pe riphery by pushing coastal resorts to the
south coast of Europe, includ ing the Riviera, Cote d'azur, Biarritz,
Corfu, San Sebastian and Yalta. The second periphery served as
winter health resorts as well as summer residences of the elite. As
tourist traffic increased and new technology reduced travel time to
24 hours, any destination along the peripheries was not within
reach.

After World War I motorised transport and air transport


supplemented the rai lways and with the youth movement new ways
of traveling e merged to change the elite-bourgeois mix. After Worl d
War II, with the boo m in international holidays the frontier was
pushed further out, because Europe was now crowding out the The attraction of
the fourth
tourist as wages and holidays continued to increase, and the
periphery lay in
infrastructure developed apace. Portugal, Romania and Bulgaria the fact that it
were now on the map, along with the North African coast. The third provided luxury
periphery now extended to the Balearic and Canary Is lands. With at low crist and
the introduction of charter flights the frontiers of the third periphery had a 12 month
season.
were ready to extend.

However, tourism develop ment in the third periphery was


different. Its push ca me from a g reater share of cultural attractions
which increased the degree of 'strangerhood'.6 Now Europeans with
lower incoliles were given an opportunity to sample the delights of
intemational tourism on a budget. This was the push factor for the
fourth periphery, where along with cu ltural attractions like
monuments and ruins, different objectives played a part in the
development of tourism, including the different forms of nature and
wild l ife in Asia and Africa, primitive tri bes in Latin America and
South-East Asia as well as attractive coastlines. The attraction of
the fourth periphery lay in the fact that it provided luxury at low cost
and had a 12 month season.

The fourth periphery however showed a two way d ependency:


socio- econo mic and socio-cu ltu ral, since the re was very little
regional or iocal participation, which Schormann descri bes as "the
parti cipation of the population in the independent develop ment
process". with regard to tourist traffic and the profit gained from it?
As a general law of devel op ment therefore, the d ouble dependency

11
Tourism Issues in Public DOl1win

of tou rism develop ment in the fourth periphery i ndicated that where
the economy was less developed the development of tourism was
rel ated to the general state of develop ment of the destination and
had an i mpact on its social structure. The more modest the level of
develop ment, the g reater the dependency and also the i mpact of
tou rism. The issue of Tourism development thus assumed
neo-colonial form seeking to expl oit the resources of the destination
for the benefit of the metropolises. The exploitative i mpact woul d
only b e reduced i f g reater differentiation occurred i n the
socio-economic system leading to h i gher domestic consu mption or
a change in the attitude towards tourism. through resistance to a
policy that was extemally controlled or excluded local interests.
Gonnsen's model does not see a role for resistance not only to the
push of the "pioneer front" but also to the values on which tou rism's
peripheries have been created. For Golf tourism however. as the
Since most of the fou rth periphery seeks more and more room there is already a world
courses date back wide network in which not only is the commercial golf movement
to the 19th
century they are bei ng resisted but alternatives to the center-periphery model have
considered also been p ropagated and critiqued. s
architecturally
and professionally Just as the British i ntroduced the seaside resort. they also
unsound. introduced golf in India in the late 19th Century. The Royal Calcutta
Golf Club was establ ished in 1884. The Bangalore Golf Club was
establ ished in 1886 with Win ston Churchill as a regular visitor. The
worlds oldest inter club championship (Madras GC vs Bangalore
GC) pegan in 1888 and conti nues to be held unti l the present.
Strongly elitist, these clubs continue to cater to the upper crust and
do not wish to expand their membership (in the region of 2000+).
Some clubs. l i ke the Delhi G olf Club have a waitin g l ist for a 100
years. I n 1986 some enthusiasts in Bangalore acqui red 136 acres
in Chel lagatha tan k on long lease and invited an Australian
specialist. Thomson Wolve ridge and Associates, to design the
course which in 1989 beca me an 18 hole course . A new trend h ad
been established i n I ndian Golf. Today. on the Haryana section of
National Highway NO. 8 a n umber of new resorts have co me up i n
response t o a model industrial townshi p of the Indo-Japanese
Business Council and the International Software I ndustrial Park of
Singapore. All these resorts provide Golf Courses at highly
reasonable tariffs. Today. you woul d find that traditional'Dhabhas'
have given way to 3 and 5 Star hotels to cater to the recreational
needs of foreign tou rists and multinational executives. Two hundred
and twenty acres of land have been acqui red by Uppals who are
12
Golf Tourism

awaitin g M r. John N icklaus to joi n as a consultant to develop an


i nternational Golf cou rse, a 5 star h otel and a helipad.

With the adven t of cable T.V. networks l i ke STAR the n atu re of


the game has also changed , as the ca mera takes you from Hawaii
to the Canadian Rockies. from Indonesia, Thai lan d , Australia and
Japan to China and now India. I ndian Golf has been
internationaUsed. The resort structu re of these l i n ks with club
houses, bars and restau rants and even hotels often h ides the face
that tou rism has displaced some traditional occupation and land use
as io the case of the plantation course at Kapalau in Hawaii .

Tou rism developers are now taki n g a secon d look at I n dia's


colon ial inheri tan ce. Since most of the courses date back to the
1 9th centu ry they are considered arch itecturally and p rofes­
sionally unsou n d . The Depa rtment of Tou rism has set up a "Golf is a game of
co mmittee of Tou r operators and Golfe rs to suggest ways of
the rich and they
get the land they
u pgrad i n g 1 5 golf cou rses to Intemational l evels. With a b u d get of
want".
Rs. 5 C rores, this co mmittee is lookin g at cou rses in Ag ra, Jaipur,
Hyderabad . The Ministry has set a cei l i n g of Rs. 50 l akhs per
cou rse but just the Hyderabad cou rse would requ i re Rs . 2.5
C rores. Unless such investments are made the existing cou rses
a re considered unsu itable for international golf meets. Now that
I n dian golf is opening up to inte mational pa rticipation , accord i n g'
to Ranjit Nanda, representin g Hawtree and Son in I n d i a , for the
110 h a . Golders G reen Golf and Cou ntry Club near Delh i in the
Aravalli ranges, the overhau ling a n d remodeling of these cou rses
has beco me a necessity. In h is opin ion the drawbac k of these
cou rse sterns from their outlay. B u i lt on avai lable flat stretches,
they divide into drives, with a teein g off mou n d at one e n d and a
putti ng green at the oth e r, with a tree lin e d fairway. Such a design
is considered amateu rish by intemational sta n dards because it
does not h ave any featu res or obstacles to add challenge to the
g a me . 9

The intemation alisation of golf is goi ng to change many featu res


of the game. As of today, golf is pri marily an amate u r sport. The
p rofessional is the caddie who spend� long hours of the wee k from
a you ng age on the links. India's n ational cha mpion , Ali Sher, is an
ex-cadd i e of the DGC and an e mployee of DCM , one of the busi n ess
houses that sponsors the g a me in I n dia. As a caddie he woul d h ave
eamed less than a dollar for a fu ll rou n d but today he has picked u p

13
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

$33,320 in the nationals, and in the Wills Open sponsored by lTC,


prize money totaling $200,000. 20 tournaments make up the Indian
golf circuit with a prize purse of one crore rupees. Professionals are
also being picked up by business houses in much the same way as
cricket and tennis stars. Once international players come into the
fray the few Indian professionals will find it hard t61ive off the game.
Golfers interviewed by me at clubs were not anxious to see tourists
playing golf on their links but were quite prepared for the
internationalisation of the game they followed regularly on Star T.v.
The caddies also followed the game on the cable networks but many
saw no future for themselves once the international players came
on the scene.

Iqbal Malik and Vincent Van Ross give us a conflicting


viewpoint."Golf is a game of the rich and they get the land they
In India new want". As a game, golf in India is not of much public interest, thus
Golf its promotion deprives people of natural greens, which in contrast
developments
to golf greens are not made of imported turf but are a mix uncut
include the
Nandi Hills grass, scrub and trees. Natural greens and wooded stretches attract
project 60 Kms. golf developers because they are easily developed into courses and
from Bangalore, at a lower cost. Green belts act as air filters in addition to supporting
set up by an
local wildlife, but Golf courses affect fauna due to regular mowing
NRI in
which destroys insects and breaks the local food chain. They also
partnership with
Jack Nicklaus Jr. have to be artificially tended and require large amounts of fertilizer,
water and pesticides.

Most new golf development is commercial and a lot of investment


is put into the fairways and putting greens but very little into the
upkeep of the wooded roughs and peripheral areas. Also, golf
greens are not open to anyone who wishes to enjoy their bio­
diversity even if they do not play the game.10

The Ministry of Tourism is however pursuing the golf option very


actively despite opposition from environmentalists and tourism
activists and even the travel trade. A tour of Japanese golf course
owners and managers brought by E MPL tours, were of the opinion
that no one will come to India just to play Golf. At the most ']olf can
be an incentive to extend a cultural tour of India. Both (he J apa nese
and Pinder have approved only of Delhi and Bombay courses but
they m aintain that equipment is insufficient and not of international
quality; even the Indian travel trade is wary of extensively promoting
Golf tours in India.

14
Golf Tourism

The case of resistance to golf is perhaps most interesting and


also most militant in Goa, where a holiday village is being planned
with funds from the Japanese Overseas Economic Cooperation
Fund.11 Under the new liberalisation policy, the tourism ministry has
invited Australian consultants representing 12 companies to
negotiate with 10 Indian hotels to set up golf courses and
manufacture golf equipment. India it seems, wishes to catch up with
Thailand (160 courses), Malaysia (153 courses), Indonesia (90
courses) and now China which has planned 400 courses in the next
15 years.12

In India new Golf developments include the Nandi Hills project


60 Kms. from Bangalore, set up by an NRI in partnership with Jack
Nicklaus Jr. A partnership between Pinder of Germany and ITC
hotels is in the pipeline and a total of 6 projects have been planned
in Goa of which two have already been cleared at Vema and Betul. The case of
resistance to golf
In both cases the local Panchayats and Sarpanches have not been
is perhaps most
consulted. The policy of the government is to ask for proposals from interesting and
private parties and then acquire land from village collectives. In almost militant
Bangalore the Nandi Hills project is a $ 22 million, 250 acre World in Goa.
class resort designed to encourage International Tourism in South
Asia. The extravagant 18 hole complex has displaced a traditional
farming community which apart from rice, millet, ragi and other crops
had used the area for grazing as well. The land been leased from
the Government but had been illegally acquired by Khoday� who
have influence with all political big wigs in Kamataka. Khodays have
now sold this land to Chawla, the developer, and have displaced
the traditional community of farmers along with dairying
co-operatives which were the dominant economic'activityY Verna
(158 acres) is being developed by Alcon Resort Holdings in
collaboration with GOLF Plan U.S.A. and Betul (247 acres) is being
developed by the Leela Kempinski group. Four other projects
include 121 acres in Amthane, Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol. The
govem ment has not surveyed either for environmental impacts or
for local public opinion, because their attitude is to unquestioningly
accept the guidance of consultants.

In view of the fact that Britain has already crossed the 2000 mark
in courses and Japan is nearing this figure with its 17 million golfers
often having to wait a month to have a game, countries in Asia are
now being looked at not only because poor peasants have land to
offer, but also to bring down the costs of the game which have
15
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

beco me astrono mical in Japan and Eu rope. Experience shows that


when land use changes are anticipated it is the rich farmer or the
one with fertile lan d , l ike fruit plantation s, who benefit from new
develop ments. Many poor peasants who do n ot have legal rights to
the land are tricked into leaving the land. As a Florida based golf
planner, Michael C. Grant told the Goa a d min istration "golf tourism
is a new trend on the tou rism ci rcu it and if Goa does not fall i n line,
it would lose a large s egment of foreign tou rists. 14 Such an attitude
explains why resistance by villagers led to an attack on the Barreto
fa mily by Col. Nair of the Leela Ke mpin ski group.

Activists led by several organisations representing community


interests , like J.G.F, Balancho Manch , Balancho Ekvott, Quepem
Coastal Villages Peoples Welfare Acti on Co mmittee an d Save
Mo bor Committee h ave co mbined to stall development of the golf
Activists led by course envisaged on a plateau overlooking the Arabina Sea. MLA
sev eral
Ramakant Khalap is afraid that vi llagers will l ose control of thei r
organisations
traditional econ o my a n d golf courses will provide another entry point
representing
community fo r sex touris m. Th is year's Carnival recorded the first tourist related
interests atrocities agai nst women and if women are employed as caddies,
as they are in Thailand , then such appreh ensions are not
unfounded. The state Tourism Mi nister, R. Carmo Pe gado however
hopes to welco me 300 charters to Goa in the coming season and
justifies the govern ments policy. "If we want to cash in on this traffic
we have to provide the facilities."15 Golf is an elitist game and
therefore style rules every aspect of it. Membership costs th ousands
of rupees , even for childre n . Golfe rs also love to exhibit their
equ i pment, which is now a bill ion dollar business for manufactu rers.
In d i a has been making golf equi p me nt for years but golfers prefer
international b rands which even at s econd hand cost a large su m.
Apart from golf cl u bs you have a golf bag, trolley, golf buggies,
specially moulded shoes with metal spiked soles , suede gloves, sun
visors and design e r cloth es. These are aven ues for multinational
consu mer goods man ufactu rers to displace local in dustry.

V.A.P. Mahajan , a for me r tou rism di rector, now with the Leela
group clai ms that th e Betu l site has no inhabitants and no productive
activity. The 16 crore investment in the golf course will create 800
jobs. However, in h u man terms the impacts of such a project are
long term. Employment will be related to the nu mber of users, over
which th e destination has no control. If the cou rse is mechanised
then the n u mber of e mploye� will decrease. Secondly villagers

16
Golf Tourism

who alienate their lands will become lab.,urers if they do not find
employment at the course and will migrate to the cities to live in
slums; a d rastic change from their self- rel iant and independent
communities.

It is no surprise to find that the biggest sponsors of the game are


the multinationals. If you look at a golf magazine you will find that
toumaments are sponsored by cigarette and alcohol companies.
The latter are not allowed to advertise in the media in I ndia so they
use the sponsorship of sports to promote their products as well as
a lifestyle. Daleep Rao of ITC says sponsorship "has a pre-emptive
value". The Wills Open sponsored by his company was covered by
Star T.V. Says Rao, "the gain is on a psychological level... the
corporate image gets enhanced. Financiers, bankers and people
think the company is sound ."
It is no surprise
However prize money in India does not compare with the U.S. to find that the
. biggest sponsors
Open and U.S. Masters which is $ 1.5 million and $ 2 million or ofthe game are
Japan's Dunlop at $ 800,000 and Asian Masters at $400,000. The the
role of organised crime and military dictatorships in support of golf multinationals.
have also added to the retail value of land for courses and
speculation in memberships. 16

In a country like India where the average income is under $300


the cost of membership is about $1,300. Imported equipment also
costs $1,650. Other expenses include travelling, equipment
maintenance and practice sessions. It is evident that golf is the
game of a small elite and they network with the powers that be to
encourage and promote the game.

The question that needs to be answered is why foreign investors


are looking seriously at India as a base for the promoting of golf. In
Europe, America, Japan and Hawaii there is today effective
resistance to the promoting of new golf courses both at the local
level as well as at the network level. Groups like Tourism Concem ,
Ten , Ramblers, GAG'M, Antenna, ECTWT are now consolidating
an intemational network the first activity of which was to observe
April 29 1993 (Japan's Environment Day) as Anti-Golf day. 16

As tourists press the pioneer frontiers out toWards agricultu ral


and tribal communities a double displacement takes place in the
third world conceming power and conflict18 . As MacCannel says the
17
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

basis for this displacement lies in the assumption of cultural


homogeneity, a unifying logic, a parallel intention and motivation
and an inter-subjective agreement in any two social formations, as
the ideological content of capital moves out to the fourth pe�iphery.

The Anti-Golf movement is therefore to be assessed as an overt


public debate over some actual or proposed development which
attempts to change traditional patterns of land use affecting both
current land users and the surrounding communities through
externalities. Roehl and Fesenmaier in a study of land use conflict
in the United States have used a locational conflict model that will
be useful in assessing issues in tourism development, particularly
in events in which more than one group has a legitimate claim over
decisions that are considered to be the preserve of policy makers.
Such claims can undermine efficiency criteria as well as market
The Anti-GoIf mechanisms. Secondly the model has practical applicability which
movement is
will help in identifying the cause of the conflict as well as in the
therefore to be
assessed as an
context in which it occurs.19
overt public
debate over some A study of the press coverage of the Anti-Golf movement and the
actual or promoting of golf courses suggests the following issues and actors:
proposed
development 1. The Government (central and state) is more frequently a
which attempts supporter of land use change because it has a national
to change
constituency. Multinational and national business houses also
traditional
patterns of land
lobby for land use changes in their business interests.
use.
2. Municipalities, Panchayats and local bodies are more active in
supporting status quo because they have local constituencies.

3. Local citizens are both for and against changes and this is an
indication that locals are not only aware but also involved in the
benefits and disbenefits of development.

4. Both supporters and opponents of change use economic and


environmental arguments, the former stressing the economic
benefits and the latter using environmental damage.

5. Conflicts over tourism development pit developers against local


people and in this process an interrelationship emerges between
the issue, the actor and the argument. It is this interrelationship
that explains the tendency amongst groups to align into coalitions
to tackle issues.

18
Golf Tourism

6. Conflicts are related pri marily to i ntensive tou rism development.


The conflict model helps policy makers to identify developments
that are goi n g to cause major confl icts and those which may be
resisted but will eventually become a part of day-ta-day life . Th is
model also helps actors in the conflict to identify those issues
which will be s uccessfully blocked if support g roups and
i ndividuals can be made to see h ow a particu lar issue seeks to
change their control over their lives. It ca,1 be an empower ment
model.

When we look at
Golf Tourism it
appears more
than any other
human activity
as a good
example of
conspicuous
consumption.

In conclusion we can say that alternative and sustainable tourism


developments have also failed to take off because they have not
been able to see the conflict s ituation that emerges in all land use
issues and the p romotion of golf tourism is therefore one such
conflict, which is the product of an affluent SOCiety with a high level
of consumerism seeking to locate its consumption in a society which
is on a different level. When we look at Golf Tou rism it appe�rs more
than any other human activity as a good example of conspicuous
consu mption . It also is a paradoxical case of a leisure activity
dependent on and influenced by the environment and yet by
creating an artificial environment it seeks to control the physical
environment which resu lts in negative consequences on unspoilt
19
The bane of cultural
pollution
C. K. Meena

five-star hotel in Bangalore had planned a "gypsy evening"

A for corporate bigwigs. In the envelopes containing the


invitation cards were silver earrings- for the men . Their
wives, who presu mably needed no such induce ments, were merely
asked to attend the mela, l ooking app ropriately "gypsy" . (This was
easy, anything vaguely Rajasthan would do).
The Gajamela,
also known as the
The gypsy evenin g did not see its fair share of untamed
Great Elephant
executives; stuffed shirts and earrings do not go together. It was March, was first
easier for the women to play the role, for mirrorwork Jehngas are held in 1 990 witlt
always in fashion . a parade cf50
decked-up
elepha nts for the
The fairground was a "farm" (as i n "farmhouse" , not paddy field)
benefitofjw;t as
on the outskirts of Bangalore. The distinct lack of "gypsiness" in the man y foreig ners
evenin g feast was compensated for by the entertainment - a
professional troupe doing Spanish gypsy dances. An i mportant
sidelight was the acrobatics. The performers were not gypsies, but
what the hell-they were genuine villagers.

It was fortunate that members of Karnataka's Lambani


co mmunity did not come to know about the gypsy evening, for they
might have felt affronted. It is not hard to imagine them expressing
their outrage over "this distortion of ou r culture," in the same manner
that social and political groups in Kerala are protesting against the
Gajamela, the an nual tou rist show staged by the State Government.

The Gaja mela, also known as the Great Elephant March , was
first held in 1990 with a parade of 50 decked-up elephants for the
benefit of just as many foreigners, in the Thekkin kadu Maidan , the
ven ue of the traditional Thrissoor Poo ram . The event, which was
considered a travesty of the renowned Pooram , created a ruckus
with i n the State. Undaunted, the govern ment repeated its
performance the following year, this time with 101 elephants.

22
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

The Keraliya Yuvajana Vedi and the BJP thundered against what
they termed "th e bogus Poo ra m" . The govern ment's only conces­
sion was to shift the ven u e from the Pooram maidan to the Th rissoor
munici pal stadium from 1 992 onwards. It then embel lished the event
by i nclud i n g a snakeboat race at Alappuzha (the ven ue of the
traditional boat festival - Vall am akal i ) , as wel l as a second elephant
parade i n the State capital , Th i ruvanantha pu ram.

Unl i ke the gypsy eve n i n g , wh ich was a fancy dress ball of sorts ,
the Gajamela p u rports to represent Kerala's cultu re, and not very
convinci ngly, at that. The Thrissoor Pooram takes place i n the first
to second week of Apri l , whi l e the Val lamakali, perfo rmed in the
month of Uttharattadh i , i s i n August-September. T h e Gajamela,
which is held i n January (clearly for the conven ience of foreigners
who a re not heat-resistant), d raws on e l e ments from both events .
"Culture is not a Imitation , i n t h i s case , is n ot considered a s flattery b u t mockery.
hamburger to be
paclrtd in a day
"Cu ltu re is not a h ambu rger to be packed i n a day safari" said
saftiri" said the
legend on the the legend on the T-s h i rt of an activist at Th rissoor last January. He
T-shirt of an was a member of of the Keka Natu re Preservation SOCiety, wh ich ,
actiVist at along with the Janakiya P rathi karana Sang ham and the Navu
Thrissoor last
Samskari ka Suddheeka ra n a Ved i , decried the Gaja mela. Th ey
January.
condemned the "masala formu l a" that was sol d to foreigners in the
name of Kerala culture.

The voices o f the cha mpions of culture a re getti ng sh ri ller by the


day. Indian cultu re is getti ng corrupted , they say, pointing an
accusing fi nge r at western isation , modernisation , satellite televi­
sion , tou rism, you-name-it.

Down with plastic, concrete and the bu rge r coke brigade. Up with
clay and wood, natu ral fibre and n atu ral food. Lon g l ive ayu rveda.
Save the handloom weavers and the leather p u p peteers . It's sin to
civilise the "tribals' . We must p rotect ou r vil lagers, our folk traditions,
ou r ch i ldre n , from evi l modem in'fluences.

It i s a line of thi n king that te mpts many of us, whether for aestheti c
or poli tical reasons . It is h ard not t o sympathise with the Goans who
-are up i n a rms over the "debasement" of their Carniva l . I t i s hard
not to oppose a touri s m project that wou ld mar the pictu re-postcard
splendou r of a verdant forest or a serene beach . Yet, it is easy to
yield to atavistic yearn i n gs for the auth e ntic and the p u re.

23
The Great Elephant March

Are staged tourist attractions like the Gajamela really a distortion


of indigenous rituals? Or, as the word "staged" suggests, can we
look at the m as works of theatre?

Richard Schechner (Performative Circumstances fro m the Avant


Garde to Ramlila, 1 974) sounds even more relevant today, in our
context: "The transformation of ritual into theater is occurring all over
the world. Tourism has been a major factor of this change."

One of the harrowing examples he gives is the people of Asaro,


a village in the Papua New Guinea, of a dance they performed only
when they felt threatened by attack from another tribe. Before dawn ,
the men would go to a local creek, rub their bodies with white mud
(the colour of death) and make grostesque masks of wood frames
covered by mud and vegetation.
Are staged
tourist
Emerging from the creek at dawn, possessed by spirits of the attractions like
dead, the dancers wou ld move. in eerie, slow, crouching steps. the Gajamela
Sometimes they would go to the village of their enemies and frighten really a distortion
them, thus preventing attack; sometimes they would dance in their of indigenous

own village. The dance took 1 0 minutes while the preparations took rituals ? Or, as
the word "staged"
most of the previous night.
suggest.s, can we
look at them as
In the mid-sixties, a photographer from National G eographic paid
works of theatre?
the villagers to stage the dance for him. These pictures became
world famous and it was not long before tourists demanded to see
those who m they themselves christened as 'the Mudmen".
When Schechner went there in 1 972, the ritual had tu rned to
theatre. The whole performance was dislocated. Tourists were
paying $20 to go to Asaro in minibuses; the Asaroans got a 1 0 per
cent cut. The dances were p�rformed at midday, in the centre of the
village , and not by the stream, secretly at dawn. The performance
was twice weekly, instead of only when required. Since according
to westem 'standards a performance should be longer than 1 0
minutes, the dancing was augmented by a display of bow-and-arrow
marksmanship, a photo session and a "market".
The social fabric- of the people of Asaro had been torn to shreds
and the changes in the dance were evidence of the deep disruptions
of Highland Ii·fe. · Even the exploitative fee paid to the villagers was
desp�rately needed during a period when the barter economy had
fallen apart.
24
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

Economic change is usually a harbinger of social upheaval, and


distressing as it seems, it is an unstoppable process. A tourist
visiting a Lambani settlement would be treated not only to
i mpromptu songs and dances, but to a performance of their
ritualistic weeping (tears mark their every occasion, be it a birth,
death, marriage, meeting or parting). this would be followed by a
litany of complaints against the government's apath y towards their
distress, and an appeal for a donation .

Tears at a price. Poverty can turn a ritual into a ticketed show.


Schechner points out that whether one calls a perfonnance ritual or
theatre depends on the degree to which it tends towards efficacy or
entertainment.

Is nothing sacred? The answer seems to be no. When rituals


Tears at a price. themselves have changed imperceptibly since their inceptiop. (no
Poverty can turn
one performance of a ritual is exactly like the previous one1.joU
a ritual into a
ticketed show.
cannot blame its practitioners for lifting the m into other conte�is.

Changes in conventions occur because of opportunism,


audience pressures, professionalism, and new technology, says
Schechner. Locals respond to the demands of rich visitors, or local
audiences demand changes because they've a bsorbed the taste of
alien cultures.

From one point of view these changes are corruptions; a clamour


is raised to establish cultural zoos in which the Original versions of
age-old rituals can be preserved. But even traditional performances
vary g reatly from generation to generation; an oral tradition is
flexible, able to absorb many personal variations within set
parameters.

Thus there exists no single, inviolate, "original" version of a ritual;


only a totality of all its previous performances. What, then , are our
champions of culture trying to preserve? And why?

The "why" merits examination . The followers of the cultural zoo


approach are normally members Of the urban middle and upper
classes. They curse their rootlessness and their technology ridden
existence; they pine for the simple life. And in their view, simple
equals real/natu ral/authentic equals rural.

25
The Great Elephant March

Chunky silver Lamban i jewelry and heavily e mb roidered and


spangled skirts, handed down from generation to generation , are
eagerly sought after by the memsahibs. The Lambani wo man dons
beads instead, and garments stitched out of cheap mill cloth . The
poor buy plastic water pots, while the brass ones rest in d rawing
rooms next to the terracotta Banku ra horses.

Ou r cu ltu ral zoo-keepers do not complain when the th ree-day


marriage cere mony is cut short to one, and the poojari edits what is
left of it, to suit the needs of a fast-paced society. Not a murmu r is
heard when the videographer asks the bridegroom to tie the thali
once again for the benefit of the came ra .

B u t let t h e vi llage artist o r performer use paint instead of rice flou r,


su bstitute coloured plastic for leaves and flowers, borrow ideas from
a TV serial , and i mmediately ou r champions cry out: don 't sully ou r
The poor buy
heritage . They ought to add, sotto voce : tech nology is meant for us, plastic water
not for you . pots, while the
brass ones rest in
W. are slaves of the consu mer society but vou , you must evade drawing rooms
the clutches of advertising, resist the lure of cities. Keep on living in next to the
you r charming thatched huts that are i H u mined by the soft light of oil terracotta
Banlcura horses.
lam ps (why, pray, do you crave for electricity? ) , and be than kful that
you are breathing unpolluted air.

I nside every cha mpion of culture l u rks an envi ronmentalist


issuing grim statements about the man-natu re connectio n . Save ou r
trees for our children , he pleads piteously. Dams are anti- people.
But those very forests that are being denuded feed industries which
man ufacture paper and texti les, which he can not live without. The
dams that displace thousands of villagers feed the cities with
electricity which he cannot, simply can not, live without.

He blames tourism for creating neocolonial ghettos; five-star


hotels for white tourists have cut off the fisherfolk's access to
beaches. True, but he forgets that we ou rselves have created u rban
ghettos for the poor. A foreign presence merely hightens existing
i nequalities.

There is no such thing as a level playi ng field, of course. The


strong have crushed the weak since time imme morial . Nobody can
change the laws of h u man natu re, none can stop the tides of
change .

26
Tourism Issues in Public Do1Tl.OJi,n

It is change that our champions of cultu re are trying to resist.


They wish to museu mise the past: they do not like to be reminded
that the old support structu res of society have collapsed, and that
the old ways of life have yielded to the new.

. One could blame it all on a wrecked economy and wrong


priorities. We have money for i,luns but not for food . We export our
choicest resou rces, then beg for loans to import what we don't need.
We lower the price of cosmetics, raise the prices of rice and wheat.
We spend Rs. 20 l akhs on gajamela for 288 foreigners (Kerala
tou rism department figu res).

One could blame


it all on a wrecked
ecollomy and
wrong priorities.
We have money
fo r guns but not
jorjood.

�- .
It's ou r economic instabi lity that lays us open to alien cultural
influe nces , goes the theory. But that is not the whole truth . All rou nd
prosperity could bring about even more shattering cultural changes.
We coul d be racing even faster down the path the West has sh own
us .

If the West is the bogey ou r champions make it out to be, why


don't they start from scratch by targetting shoes, trousers and the
nighti es/housecoats that are the dayti me wear of practi cally every

27
maami in Mylapore and mausi in M eerut? They can prog ressively
work their way up to cosmetics , convent schools and that classic
B ritish hand- me-down - ou r legal system.

Li ke it or not, the U.S. is the new col oniser and its cultu re, the
d ominant one today. North American cultu re h as left its imprint on
India, as it has on eve ry part of the globe . We have assi mil ated it,
but surely we h aven ' t been engu lfed by it.

Maybe our poor champions are ti lting at imaginary windmills. We


should rem ind the m th at th e strongest cultu res are those that a re
able to adapt and absorb, yet retai n th e i r fundamental chara­
cteristics. In dian cu ltu re is resilient enough , and doesn't need them
to defend it, thank you . Ou r cultu re is not a delicate rose, th e heart
of which is bei n g corroded by a can ker. I t is more l i ke that co mmon
garden flower, the "changin g rose" , which turns fro m white to s h e l l
p i n k t o magenta b y eveni ng , u n d e r the ever-strengthen ing rays o f
the sun.

Reproduced from The Hindu, May 1, 1994

28
Coastal Conundrum
A resort project in Orissa

Tapas Ray

ro m the bridge over the Kusabhadra river on the Puri-Konarak

F coastal road, the view is one of great scenic beauty. The river
arches away to the left through a casuarina forest to the sea
more than 2 km downstream . The sea, hidden by the forest which
stretches along the road as far as the eye can see, can be sensed,
but not seen .

This is the spot where Orissa, and in fact the country as a whole, Puri-Konarch
beach project,
faces a major development con undrum. As part of a plan to boost
Environmentalists
earn ings, especially foreign exchange, from the State's determinedly
considerable touris m potential , the Government proposes to set up oppose the project.
here a 9-km-long lUxury beach resort complex for affluent foreigners
and other top-bracket tou rists. But environmentalists determ inedly
oppose the project which will requi re the clearing of a part of a
reserve forest and wildlife sanctuary. They clai m it will cause grave
damage to the ecology and the socio-economic fabric of the area.
The plan has met with resistance within the Govern ment too.

The 33-km-long Konarak- Puri beach has attracted the tou rism
industry for decades. The State's Tou rism Minister, Ananga Uday
Singh Deo, a hotel ier who had pioneered star-grade establish ments
i n Orissa, h ad applied for a plot of l and in 1 968 . There have since
been many other applicants, and in 1 989 , when the Congress(l) was
in power, clearance was given to one such , on ly to be revoked in
1 991 vide a Union Ministry of Environment and Forests notification
u nder the Environment (Protection) Act, 1 986, seeki ng to regulate
all construction activity on the coasts.

The beach came i nto the l i mel ight again in M ay last year when
the U nion Ministry of Civi l Aviation and Tourism, in its National
Action Plan, identified the Bhubaneswar- Puri- Konaraktravel circuit
among 1 5 destin ations across the cou ntry for "intensive
de\(elopment" with Central assistance as wel l as State and private
. sector investment. Bhubaneswar, with many archaeological

29
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

attractions - Buddhist, Jain and Hindu - in and around it, is an


i mportant destination. So is Konarak, with its 1 3th centu ry Sun
Temple which never fails to awe, though the temple proper has been
long lost to the elements and what stands today is only a chariot
whose exquisite stone wheels have beco me a symbol of Orissa.
Puri , with its fine beach, is a leisu re tou rist's dream and has the
added attraction of bein g a major pilgri mage centre. Not far away is
the sprawling and beautiful Chilika lake, a nature lover's paradise,
part of which is a mari n e sanctuary.

And between Konarak and Puri lies one of the finest beaches in
the world.

By the time the Centre's docu ment was pu blished, the Orissa
Govemment had drawn up an a mbitious plan for a 2, 227-acre
The number of (901 .25 hectare) resort co mplex and approached the Centre for
applicants
de reservation of forest lan d . The area, bound by the Kusabhadra in
seeking land !rad
grow; ! to 74 by
the west, was part of the Gada Bangar Protected Reserve Forest
December 1 993 and the Konarak-Balukhanda wildlife sanctuary. Under the Forests
and contained (Conservation) Act, 1 980, Central approval is needed before forest
such names as land can be diverted to non-forestry uses such as tou rism. Another
the Tatas, the
application, this time in the prescribed format along with the 50-year
Bir/as, the
Oberois, the
perspective plan, including the land use master plan, was lodged
Thapars and the with the Centre in May 1 993.
Dalmias.
In Dece mber 1 992, before the formal request for de reservation
was made, the Centre h ad declared the Puri-Konarak belt a "Special
Tou rism Area" . All this activity triggered a veritable gold rush among
hoteliers, established and otherwise. The number of applicants
seeking land had g rown to 74 by the second week of Dece mber
1 993, according to official sources, and contained such names as
the Tatas, the Birlas, the Oberois, the Thapars and the Dal mias. A
nu mber of foreign investors, including multinationals, were also
reportedly knocking at the door, though their names did not figu re
in the list the Government placed befo re the Assembly in response
to me mbers' demands.

Though the hotelier looby and the two Govern ments were thus
eager to exploit the Pu ri-Konarak beach , the State Government
faced stiff opposition fro m with in. Towards the end of April, when
the request to Delh i for dereservation was bei ng processed by the
State's Department of Envi ronment and Forests, G. S. Padhi, then

30
Coastal Conundrum

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Orissa, p laced his


disapproval on record. In a letter to the Secretary to the department,
he pointed out that the 90 1 .25 hectares mentioned in the plan was
meant for th e first phase of th e project. How many such phases
would th ere be and how much forest land would ultimately be
needed were questions th at had not been touched upon . " U n less
th e project as a whole is reviewed ," Padh i wrote, "it is difficult to give
any opinion on the possible effects of diversion of forest land for
non-forest uses in that region ."

The sen ior forester, known as a man of A academic disposition ,


pointed out that the entire Orissa coast was in the cyclone-prone
zone of the Bay of Bengal and a tree belt was essential for
preventing wind erosion and "sand-casting" , the phen o menon of
sand blown i nland by the wind, coverin g ho mestead and agri cultu ral
land in the i nterior. Without a tree cover, the hinterland would be With the project
reduced to sand dunes, he said, "as was the landscape not too long taking up as
ago when casuarina plantation was not taken up to stabilise the much land as
was proposed,
shoreline."
about 10 km of
the beach would
Moreover, Padhi poi nted out, fuelwood is scarce in the Puri­
be almost
Konarak area. Conversation of forest land into a resort complex denuded,
would push up de mand for wood fu rther and lead to the destruction exposing tire
of the remaining tree cover on government as wel l as private land . hinterland to the
This wou ld result in an annual deficit of about 1 ,000 truckloads of destructive forces
of the sea and the
fuelwood in the area. Considering the high seasonal tou rist arrival ,
wind.
this would cause severe proble ms. More i mportant, Pad h i wrote,
would be the damage to the env i ronment. With the project takin g
up a s much land a s was proposed, about 10 k m of t h e beach would
be almost denuded, exposing the hinterland to the destructive
forces of the sea and the wind.

Padhi also hinted that if theft of timber and cashewnut was


checked, the earni ngs from these items in the area covered by the
project wou ld be much higher than the Rs. 28 lakh per an n u m
estimated b y h i s subordinate officer, t h e Divisional Forest Officer,
PurL These estimates , incidentally, have been used in the
cost-benefit analysis wh ich acco mpanies the proposal for
dereservation . The revenue loss has been counted as part of the
cost of the project .

The forestry ch ief, however, made i t clear that he recognised the


need for a tou ris m co mplex in the "overall interest of the State", and

31
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

suggested that the land needs of the project be curtailed to limit its
ill-effects.

Instead of paying heed, the Orissa Govem ment not only sent the
proposal to Delhi in the original form , but punished Padhi by
relegating him to the less-important post of Chief Wildlife
Warden-cum-Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (\Nildlife).

While Padh i had to be overruled, his successor i n the Forest


Department's wildlife wing only needed a certain deg ree of pressure
to revise his opin ion that the project would adversely affect the
inhabitants of tlW 72 sq km Konarak-Balu khanda sanctuary. His
letter, which forms an an nexure to the proposal for dereservation ,
ad mits that there are two endangered species - the black buck and
the monitor lizard - among these. Their nu mbers, according to h i m,
"Why do the are fou r and 1 5 respectively. The others listed by him are cheetal
hotels need an
(47), Jungle cat (two), mongoose (one), rhesus monkey (five), crow
acrefor every
suite? " pheasant ( 1 0) and jackal (two). The official said the 63 sq km of
sanctuary area that would remain outside the resort eomplex would
serve adequately for the animals' habitat. His colleagues, however,
told Frontl ine that the numbers quoted were "rubbish" and there
were many more in reality. Moreover, the resort complex with its
myriad noises and forms of pol lution - including veh icular - would
disturb thei r habitat.

But the overruling of Padhi and the sub mission of the wildlife chief
does not mean llesistance within the Government has been
crushed. Several forestry officials told this correspondent in the
second week of December they were opposed to the felling of trees
required by the project, and felt that far too much land was bei ng
sought for dereservation . "Why do the hotels need an acre for every
suite?" one of the m wondered, pointing out that the master plan
indicate this kind of land use. Also, the same five-star hotels which
make do with perhaps two acres in some cities or five acres in Goa
had applied for 1 00, 1 50 and even 300 acres on the Konarak-Puri
beach . Another said the whole thing smelled of a land scam. In the
event of the project falling through because of cash problems (the
investment n eeds have been estimated to lie somewhere between
RS. 1 ,000 and Rs. 2,000 crore) the land is likely to be sold off as
.
prime real estate.

A senior tourism official told Frontline that forestry officials were


32
Coastal Conundrum

doin g everyth ing possible to "frustrate" the a mbitious foreign­


exchange earning plan . The latter denied the allegation , saying they
were bou n d to abide by forestry and environmental laws, which had
beco me qu ite stri ngent i n recent years.

Though the State Govemment was able to ignore Padhi's


objections, it has stu mbled over obstacles put u p by a small but
vocal g roup of envi ronmental activists led by Banka Behari Oas,
president of the Orissa Krushak Mahasangh.' Oas, a former State
Revenue Minister and a forme r member of the Rajya Sabha, was
i nstru mental in the vi rtual scrapping of a Tata fi rm's controversial
"semi-i ntensive" prawn culture project in the Chilika lake.

I n the present case, Oas procured a copy of Padhi's letter and


used it to buttress his de mand for scrapping the project. He has
been campaigning on several fronts, including in Parliament. I n Says
Madhusudan:
Septe mber, Oas got 1 3 M Ps from various parties t o write to Prime
"They have
M i nister p.v. Narasi mha Rao urging him not to approve the resort brought the entire
complex plan. Among the signatories were Shivaji Patnaik of the staff, except
Communist Party of India (Marxist) , Chitta Basu ofthe Forward Bloc, perhaps sweepers
Srikant Jena of the Janata Oal , Anadi Oas of the Cong ress (I) and and suchlike,
from outside."
Sanjay Singh and Kamal Morarka, then i n the Samajvadi Janata
Party. Senior CPI(M) leader Som nath Chatterjee is also reported to
have spoken against the project in the Lok Sabha.

Oas has b een working at the g rassroots, too, visiti n g villages


behind the project area, with a few young faithfuls. His message
seems to h ave got home, as th is correspondent discovered during
a recent visi t . There were echoes of the Chipko movement i n the
words of Ram Oehra, an affl uent farmer of Tikana , who said the
people would stop tree-felling at any cost, by e mbracing th.e tru n ks
if need be. " Every leaf and twig is useful," he sai d , adding that if the
trees went, sand would destroy agricultural land in the h interland.
Moreover, cattl e wou ld lose their grazing ground i n the forest. "We
do not need hotel jobs here," he said .

Purna Chandra Misra, president of the Bhuvan village


comm ittee , had more to say. One poi nt he mentioned was fi rewood ,
which would g row scarce with the chopping down o f trees. He
admitted many vill agers too fell trees illegally . The village would

• O rissa Farm ers' Federation.

33
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

also lose an i mportant sou rce of i n come, he said. In the cu rrent year,
on an i nvestment of Rs. 70,000 , i t has earned a return of Rs. 80, 000
from cas h ewnut col lected fro m a block of the forest taken on lease
from the Government. So me of the money is kept aside for festivals
and oth e r co mmon uses and the rest distributed a mong the
households, a l l of which h ave contributed labou r.

Though the area fal l s with in the con stituency of the powerful
Reven u e. M i n is te r , S u rendra Nath Nayak , who is an enth usiastic
supporte r of the p r oject, lower-r u n g leaders of the r u l i n g Jan ata Dal
seem to have tu rned against it. B iswanath Prad h a n , member of the
Gop panchayat samiti , sai d , "No hotels," citi ng fears not on ly of
increased soi l sali n ity, but of an " i nvasion of AIDS , d rugs and
prostitution." ( I n fact , Banka Behari Das h as been givi ng the
exa mple of Goa and has drawn support from that State's g reen
Clearly, the Gada activists, incl u d i n g Claude Alvarez.) Gopinath Patra , chai rman of
Bangar reserve
the samiti , was a little more cautious. "I live elsewhere," he said , but
forest, the
added that "my peop l e are agai nst the p roject."
Konarak-Balukhan
da sanctuary and
their nthe,..,.1Iise Most locals seem to beli eve there wou ld be no jobs for the m in
ecolog ically th e co mpl ex. Says M adh usu dan , a Con g ress ( l ) member of the
sfnsitive nature
Baragaon g ram panchayat, citi n g a l Ux u ry h otel of the area: 'They
brought the
have b rought the enti re staff, except perhaps sweepers a n d
resort project
area within CRZ su chlike, from outside." However, he does n o t mind hotels in t h e
I area if they co me u p on private land and do n o t take u p more than
five acres or so.

Ban ka Behari Das h as also written to Union Min ister for


Envi ronment and Forests Kamal Nath , E nvi ronment and Forests
Secretary R. Rajaman i and I nspector-General of Forests and
E nv i ronment A. K. M u kherjee , arg u i n g against the p roject in its
present shape.

Das pointed out that after the n atu ral mang rove forests on the
coast van i shed early this centu ry due to h u man i ntervention , the
area faced probl e ms of san d-casti ng and fuel sh ortag e . The
authorities then took u p a casuari n a plantation drive whi ch was
periodically accelerated, one such occasion being after a
devastat i n g cyclone in the 1 970s. Clearing the for est wou l d retu rn
vil lages in the h interland to "an econ omy of sand and sand
dun es."

34
Coastal Conundrum

He struck the hardest blow by th rowin g l ight on a seriou$ flaw i n


the State Government's dereservation proposal , which has put the
Centre on the defensive. He pointed out that the area earmarked
for the project had been wrongly designated in that document as
Category III Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ-III) , while it was in fact
o f the C RZ I type. I n its February 1 9, 1 99 1 notification , issued under
Sections 3( 1 ) and 3(2) (V) of the Environment (Protection) Act,
1 986 , the U n ion Environment and Forests Ministry had laid down
that coastal stretches within 500m of the high-tide line wou ld be
designated CRZ-I if the areas are "ecologi c;:ally sensitive and
important, such as national parks, mari n e parks, sanctuaries,
reserve forests, wildlife habitats . . . " No new construction was
all owed within 500m of the high-tide line in such areas. CRZ III, on
the other hand, pertained to relatively undistu rbed areas othe r than
the C RZ I type and in these, hotel construction was allowed only
beyond 200m of the h igh-tide line. Within the 200m belt, agriculture, A farcical note
was added by
horticulture, gardeni ng, pastu res, playgrou nds, parks and salt
Ch ief Minister
man ufactu re from sea wate r would be possible. Biju Patnaik
who, true to
Clearly, the Gada Bangar reserve forest, the style, reportedly
Konarak- Balukhanda sanctuary and their otherwise ecologically tltreatened Banka
Behari Das
sensitive natu re brought the resort project area with i n C RZ I, but the
State Government chose to call it CRZ- I I I because that allowed hotel
construction close to the water and far g reater freedom to use the
beach at will .

To Das' charge on this score , Kamal Nath replied that the Orissa
Government had n ot submitted its Coastal Zon e M anagement Plan
on the basis of which the Centre was to fin al ise the coastal areas'
categorisation . The deadl ine for this, incidentally, had expi red on
February, 1 9, 1 99 1 , that is, a year after the CRZ notification was
issued. Kamal Nath has also pointed out that pending such
classification , the State Governments were obl iged to adhere to the
norms laid down in the notification and also to submit, for th e
conside ration of the Envi ronment Appraisal Committee, an
environmental impact assessment for each proposed develop ment
activity in th e 200-5 0 0 m zone.

While the State Government is supposed to have submitted one


such an alysis about two months ago, this does not seem to have
found favo u r , and A. F. Ferguson & Co. , a Delhi-based manage ment

35
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

cons ultancy firm, has been entrusted with the task of reworking the
project to make it "more eco-friendly." At the same time, the
Gove m ment is trying to free itself of the C RZ I p roblem by
de reserving the reserve forest and denotifyi n g the sanctuary. Since
the latter requ i res an Assembly resolution, Ban ka . Behari Oas has
appealed to M LAs of all parties not to have such a th ing on their
conscience .

Wh ile Oas has mustered the su pport of environ mentalists, the


Orissa G overnment has Un ion Tou rism M inister Ghulam Nabi Azad
on its side. In a flashy "beach festival" organised at Puri in Jate
Octobe r evi dently to sell the resort idea, Azad declared his support
for the project. A farcical n ote was added by Chief Minister Biju
Patn aik who, true to style, reportedly th reatened Banka Behari Oas
(wh o was n ot present) from that p u blic p latform. Oas pro mptly
As for the fears challenged th e Chief M i n ister or any representative of h is to a public
over drugs, AIDS
debate .
and prostitution,
the Minister told
Frontline, "No! State Tou rism Minister A. U . Singh Oeo's handling o f the thomy
every place is subject , h owever, was far more mature . He has soug ht to neutral ise
Thailand. " opposition from the State Congress ( l ) and th us make it hard for
Kamal Nath to refuse pe rmission by poi nting out that the Centre
itself h ad declared the place a special tou rism a rea and Kamal Nath ,
too, had cleared the spot afte r an aerial su rvey. Singh Oeo h as also
tried to convi nce the press, with figu res , that misgivi ngs about the
project were misplace d . N ot all the 5 1 7,778 trees of the area (of
which 477,692 are casuari n a , 30,064 cashewnut and the rest neem
and eucalyptus) would h ave to be felled. S ince coastli n e reg u l ations
(meaning those on C RZ III) prohi bit construction on more than 33
per cent of the plot a rea, about 2 50, 000 trees would be l eft stan ding.
All trees i n the 200m zon e (from the h igh-tide l i n e) would remai n .

Singh O e o h as s a i d fears of win d erosion and cyclone damage


are unfoun ded, since th e bare , 10-km-long coast at P u ri h as not
been affected th us in many years. Also , there wou ld be no net g reen
loss, since co mpensatory afforestation would be taken up else­
where .

Speaking o n the positive side, t h e Minister said ben efits from the
project wou l d be 2 .45 times the costs , i ncluding envi ron mental ones.
The s mall I ndonesian island of Bali , which h e h ad visited, attracted
over th ree m i l lion foreign tou rists every year, which spu rred the

36
Coastal Conundrum

economy with a massive infl.ow of foreign exchange. In comparison ,


the whole of India played host to only 1 .4 million foreign tourists a
year. With the Bhubaneswar airport being upgraded to receive
wide-bodied aircraft- it will also have an air-conditioned terminal
building - in two years, all at the initiative of the Chief Minister, it
was essential that the resort complex be made operational within
the same time-frame so that the area could make a breakthrough
in global tourism.

As for the fears over drugs, AI DS and prostitution, the Minister


told Frontline, "Not every place is Thailand." He pointed out that
Bali had succeeded in keeping such evils at bay.

Opponents of the project have picked holes in Singh Deo's


defence. They point out that the land identified for compensatory
afforestation, scattered in pockets that lie 1 50 to 200 km inland, is Close to the
periphery of the
of little relevance to coastal ecology. They also say the cost-benefit
majestic Sun
analysis is dubious since it does not show a clear break-up of the Temple, three
costs. No less important is the State's record in managing existing separate
beach resorts. Pollution has grown sharply at the Puri resort, where stmctures have
a canal-sized drain empties into the sea. In recent years, not only come up in
violation of laws
have tourists complained of an over-powering stench in the beach
which prohibit
area, they have often been afflicted by dysentery and other such constmction
gastro-intestinal disorders. Hotels, which have sprung up close to within 1 00m .
the waterline, often dump refuse on the sand and it is not uncommon
to find pools of stinking kitchen run-off collecting on the beach.
Septic tanks can also be seen on the beach, a portion of which has
been occupied by semi-permanent shops. Singh Deo says a
sewage treatment plant is in the pipeline, but considerable damage
has been done already. In the beautiful but far less-developed
beach resort of Gopalpur-on-Sea in Ganjam district, too, similar
pollution is in evidence.

At Konarak, one of the main attractions of the area, the


administration has shown a singular lack of aesthetic sense. Close
to the periphery of the majestic Sun Temple, three separate
structures have come up in violation of laws which prohibit such
construction within 1 00m. These are an office of the Notified Area
Council, a shopping complex of the NAC and an open-air auditorium
where an extravaganza called "Konarak Festival" was held in early
Dece mber. The Archaeological Survey of I ndia (ASI) lodged a
complaint with the local police and the construction did stop, but
37
Tourism Issues in Publ¥ Domain

there is no sign yet that the structu res wi ll be d e molished. As a result,


the Sun Temple's s u rroundings h ave taken on a pedestrian look,
and th e more disce m i ng i nternational tou rists may d rop Konarak
from the i r itinerary once word gets arou n d .

Clearly, if Orissa wishes t o exploit its i mmense tou ris m potential ,


it h as to set its house i n ord e r before e mb�Hking on costly and
ambitious p rojects such as the beach resort, wh ich cou ld prove
damaging to the environ ment. If at all such p rojects are considered
essential on econo mi c considerations , they should be cleared o n ly
on the basis of co mprehensive envi ronmental i mpact assessments ,
which s e e m t o b e absent a t p resent. Experts have b een poi nti ng
out the dangers i n an ever-g rowin g nu mber of areas, and noth i ng
should be don e before a l l these factors are stu died i n detai l .

Reproduced from Frontline, January 14, 1994.

38
Coastal Conundrum

The twin threats

Sunil Sen Sharma, a senior marine geologist who retired as


directo r of the G eolog ical Survey of I ndia, says the beach r�sort
project will affect the coast principally in two ways.

He told Frontline the tree belt had been raised on the Konarak­
Puri coast to stabilise the sand dunes, that is, to prevent them from
moving' nland. I f the t rees go, the dunes will be destabilised again.
Moreover, the "beach p rofile," that is, the profile of the sloping
g ro u nd betwee n the water and the land, and a rea betwe en the low
and high tide lines, will c hange - even i f constructio n activity i s
l imited t o 2 0 0 or 500m of t h e hig h-tide line.

The othe r point Sen Sharma sought to make - the possibility of


u n p redictable changes i n the sea's erosion-accretion patte rn in
adjoining areas of the coast- appears not to have been
co nside red by anyon e i n government o r outsid e con nected to the
project. All over the wortd, the geologist says, whenever anti­
e rosion meas u res (such as groins, rivetments and breakwaters)
are taken at a particu lar spot to p rotect property on the shore,
intensified erosion occurs at some adjo ining a reas, and "accretion"
- the se a receding because of the de position of silt - at others .
T h is is because t h e sill-<:arrying "litto ra l" cu rrents, that is, those
which move parallel to the shore , are disturbed by the protective
structures.

In I nd ia, Visakhapatna m and Madras are two examples. In Madras,


the prese nt expanse of the Marina beach is the result of the.
ha rbour protection work executed after the port was opened in
1 876. Within the first e ig ht years alone , the sea had receded ·from
a 26-acre area following heavy depOSition . On the othe r hand,
the re was heavy erosion i n the area to the immed iate north of the
port, which led to mo re p rotective structures.

In a lUX U ry resort complex of the type p lanned o n the Konarak- Puri


beach, investment by hoteliers alo n e will be of the order of
hundreds of crores of rupees. Naturally, they will demand
protective structures at the first sign of erosion and this will set off
a chai n reaction in the adjoi ning a reas. Even the Konarak te mple,
which stands about a kilometre from the water, may .be i n danger.

An intensive study of the area a nd its geological features is a must


before such p rojects can be cleared, Sen Sharma fell.

Tapas Ray
Frontline, Jan. 14, 1994

39
Tourism Issues in Public DOTTULin

I�ive-Star Plans

According to the Orissa Government's perspective plan d rawn up


last year, the Kona rak-Puri beach reso rt complex will cover 2,227
acres (90 1 .25 hectares) and have a beach frontage of about 9 km.
It will measure up to intematio nal standards, "co mpeting with . . .
popular destinations like Bali and Phuket."

About half of the total area - 1 , 075 acres to be precise - is to be


earmarked for "deluxe resorts," defined as those of four-star- plus
to super-deluxe g rades. "Econo my" resorts, that is, those of three
to four-star grades, will b e a llotted 1 50 acres. It is envisaged that
i n six or seven years, there will be 900 rooms i n the deluxe category
and 600 i n the economy class.

About 350 acres will be set aside for an 1 8-ho le champ ionship­
grade golf course and a nine-hole golf academy. A country clu b , a
convention centre with state-of-the-art aud io-visual gadgetry,
including simultaneous translatio n facilities, and a helipad fil lo take
20 to 25-seate rs have also been planned, as has been an
all-weather jetty for 1 DO-seater passenger cruise boats and
catama rans.

There will be discotheques, swimming pools, health clubs and


"fitness a reas," jogging tracks, p u tting gree ns, bowling croquet and
lawns, volleyball and tennis cou rts, and so on. There will also be
provision for water sports such as sailing, water skiing ,
para-sailing, water scoote rs, wind surfing, kaya king and riv e r
cruises.

An artisans' village, where tou rists will be able to watch craftsmen


at work and buy their products, will come up. At a food bazar, Oriya
food will be p re pared and se rv ed in an ethnic ambience. Also on
the drawing board are a hospita l , a post office and
telecommunications centre, a bus and taxi stand, auto-repair
garages, livi ng quarters for resort staff, infrastructure facilities such
as electricity, wate r supply and sewerage installations, g ardens,
wooded a reas . . .

Tapas Ray
Frontline, Jan. 14, 1994

40
Confronting TNCs
Some thoughts on strategy

Joshua Karliner

s transnational corporations come to domin ate an ever

A larger share of the world's economy, their i mpact on society


and the environment grows as well. Whether it be ozone
destruction, cigarette-caused lung cancer, climate change, toxic
waste, pesticide poisoning, overfishing, or deforestation, the
transnationals play a prominent role in undermining human health
and destroying the world's environment.
Community
victories, isolated
In response to a widespread number of abuses, various local,
from the national
national and intem ational NGOs and comm unity groups have found and international
them selves directly confronting destructive corporate behaviour. context however,
Activists have been so successful in placing some limits on nm the risk of

destructive TNC activity, that in many cases they have posed real only dL<placing
the problem
threats to many a corporate bottom line. The TNCs have reacted by
elservhere.
becoming increasingly sophisticated and by employing numerous
tactics to counteract their foes. These tactics include high profile
publicity campaigns to convince the public that they are green and
socially responsible. They also include moves to co-opt opponents,
efforts to roll back regu latory regimes, and the use of intemational
agreements, such as the GATT, to undermine national controls of
their actions. At times the TNCs have also actually been forced -
often after great struggle - to institute real, positive changes in their
behaviour and production practices.

NGOs and commun ity groups rarely have the opportunity to learn
from past efforts to confront TNCs, but rather repeatedly find
themselves rei nventin g the wheel. W e often don't know what has
been successful, what has failed, and how the corporations have
adapted to our methods. We rarely share strategy, tactics or
i nformation. W hile global corporations are often acutely aware of
the opposition they face throughout in every country, various

Joshua /<"8rliner is currently writing a book on transnational corporations and the


environment.

41
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

co mmun ities in diffe rent parts of the world can be fighti ng the same
co mpany and won' t even know about one another, despite the fact
th at com i n g togethe r wou ld st(en gth en and rei nfo rce each struggle.
Knowledge and information about TNCs, th e strategies that can be
employed to co mbat the i r abuses, and who else is fighting them is
vital i n building social justice and ecological sanity in an increasingly
global ised econo my. The fol lowing is a brief, and necessarily
non -comp rehensive overview of some <:>f these strategies.

National Leg islation and Reg u lation

This is one of the front lines of the battle . Th e fi rst wave of


envi ron mental shock troops , mostly in the i ndustrialised North ,
sneaked in beh in d corporate lines a couple of decades ago and
began building legislative barricades , sowing reg u latory mine fields,
The most classic and digging tre nches in p reparation for a p rolonged shoot-out with
example ofan the poll uters. Disparagingly referred to now by the corporate and
international
govern mental free marketeers as 'the failed model com mand and
corporate
campaign, where control' reg u l atio n , these efforts h ave won a few real victori es , and
we can see both made some progress i n reformi ng i n dustrial p ractices .
success and
failure, is the
Nestle Boycott. Com m u n ity Mobi l i sation

Local co mmu n ities often feel the i mpacts of TNCs' env i ron­
mentally destructive behavio u r more d i rectly than anyone else. They
have mobilised the world over to fight specific activities and p rojects
of individual TNCs, often successful ly. When con nected with
national or i n te rnational n etworks or coalitions, the i mpacts of thei r '
efforts can multiply.

An example of such networks a re Communities Concerned


About Carbide, a collection of l ocal commun ity groups from across
the U S , all of whom are fighting U n i on Carbide; th is diverse g roup
is also working with the gas disaster victi ms i n Bhopa l . Anothe r
exa mple is the PARTIZANS g roup ( People Agai nst R i o Ti nto Zinc
and its Subsidiari es) which is an i nternational network of
commun ities and organisations fighting the envi ron mentally and
socially destructive mi n i n g activities of a UK-based corporati on .

Com mu nity victories, isolated from the national and i nternational


context howeve r, run the risk of only displacing the probl e m
elsewhere . W h e n Japanese g roups opposed the man ufactu re of

42
Confronting TNCs

'rare earth' in Japan, for example, the Mitsubishi Corporation


relocated this hazardous practice to Malaysia. (See Box)� Similarly,
as local communities across the United States reject incineration as
an unsafe method of hazardous waste disposal, corporations such
as Waste M anagement I nternation� 1 are exporting this technology
to the Third World.

Corporate Cam pai g n s

While vastly varied, corporate campaigns use a diversity of


strategies and tactics to put pressure on corporations to change
their destructive practices. The single most experienced
constituency when it comes to corporate campaigns is organised
labour, which has waged numerous battles over the years. Their
strategies and tactics, now used by others as well, have included
negative publicity, leveraging a weak spot on a corporation's board Given that TNCs
are so powerful,
of directors, boycotts and market pressure, law suits, pressure
often one of the
through governments and international institutions, pressure from
only ways to get
the grassroots, pressure from labour unions, dialogue and tltem to move is
negotiation with the corporation and more. to pit one
company or
entire sector
The most classic example of an international corporate
against another.
ca rnpaign, where we can see both success and failure, is the Nestle
Boycott. Briefly, the Nestle campaign succeeded in building an
international, North- South network that successfully put pressure
on the Nestle corporation to change its practices in marketing a
powdered substitute for mothers' milk. The campaign stigmatised
Nestle in the public eye, succeeded in building up an international
boycott of Nestle's p roducts, successfully created and forced Nestle
and other TNCs to adh e re to a UN WHO Code of Conduct on baby
food, and brought Nestle to the negotiating table, where it agreed
to a seri�s of demands.

Once the boycott was lifted however, Nestle, aided by changing


conditions at t h e U �J , began to weaken and exploit loopholes in the
Code of Conduct. The public was left with the impression that Nestle
had changed . But while the worst excesses of its practices were
cu rtai led , Nestle continued to expand its marketing of mothers milk
su nstitu!e in the Th ird World. A renewed boycott has been on since
1 9 89 , u u t in m any parts of the world the public knows little of this
e fforts , while Nestle 's PR work has grown increasi ngly
sophisti cated . The bottom line is that once the heat was off, Nestle

43
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

was able to go about business as usual, with relatively few changes


in its ove ral l p racti ces .

Playi n g corporations off agai nst each other

Given that TNCs are so powerfu l , often one of the only ways to
get them to move is to pit one company or enti re sector against
anothe r. A n exa mple of thi s can be fou n d with the case of global
war ming. I t woul d seem all but i mpossible to transfo r m the all­
powerful oil companies, whose activities are contri buti ng to cli mate
change , as well as other social and envi ron mental problems.
However , th e all -powerfu l i nsu ra n ce companies are i ncreasingly
concemed a bout the i mpacts of the oil co mpanies on their own .
economic viabi l i ty. Encou rag i n g such a clash of titans , might yield
positive results.
We need to
develop coherent
In anoth e r h ig h ly creative approach , Greenpeace scie ntists
strategies that
developed a CFC-free (ozone friendly) refrigerato r - someth i n g that
use the tactics
described above corpor ate scien tists said was i mpossible and u n p rofitable. The new
as well as many refrigerator is bei n g p r oduced by an East Ge rman fridge factory that
others, in a was on the verge of being closed down in th e post- reun ification era.
systematic effort
Demand for th is ' Greenfreeze' refrigerator has been so g reat in
to force
Germany, and inte rest has been so strong in places l i ke C h i n a , that
corporations to be
accountable t1nd the TNCs i n this i ndustry h ave been forced to develop th eir own
responsible CFC-free models ! Thus G reen peace was su ccessfu l in generating
jobs in an econ o mi cally dep ressed area, while simultaneously
forcing change in the p r oduction patterns of an entire g rou p of
TNCs.

I ntern ational Law

Various opportun ities exist to c reatively challenge T NCs through


legal action , and to beg i n to build i nternational legal precedents and
structu res to control cor porations .

The Costa Rican DBCP case is one of the most i mportant


intemational corpo rate liability cases ever. By allowi n g Costa Rican
banana workers to sue Shell Oil in a United States cou rt for steri lity
caused by the pesticide DBCP, a Texas j udge h as potential ly
opened the door to holding cor porations liable, i n t h e i r home cou ntry
for activities carried out abroad. I t also provides an example of how
a specific i nitiative cou ld h ave b road implications and set important

44
Confronting TNCs

p recedents for a host of other areas. Th i s case is stil l under heavy


legal fi re from both the Shel l and Dow corporation s .

Treaties and Conventions

I nternational treaties a n d conventions h ave served a s i mportant


i nternational tools to control corporate behaviour. The Montreal
P rotocol , for exa mpl e , is forci ng the phasing out of a multi­
billion-dollar CFC produ ction industry domi n ated by a s mall few
TNCs. It is i m portant to recognise that these same TNCs lobbied
every step of the way against the CFC ph ase-out. But when it
beca me inevitable, they successfu l ly lobbied for the Montreal
Protocol to allow for CFC su bstitutes they produ ced , despite the fact
that such su bstitutes also contributed to eith er ozone destruction or
cli mate chan ge. Th us, while this treaty has served to regu l ate TNCs,
it h as also, to a certain exte nt, been co-opted by them.

A similar dynamic h as taken p l ace i n the Climate Convention ,


where the TNCs contin u e to lobby h a rd in resi stance to international
control on the production of carbon dioxide.

Confronti n g the TNCs

The above is a brief and incomplete look at some strategies and


tactics, successes and fa i l u res. What i s clear is that not enough of
this type of i n fo rmati o n , nor other info rmation about the specific
records of individual co mpanies, is being shared among and
between co mmu n ities and N G Os fighti n g TNC abuses. Yet , if local ,
n ational a n d i ntemational groups working for the env i ronment and
social justice are goi n g to successfully counter trans national
corporate abuses in the e ra of globalisation, we must beg i n to join
forces. For a victory against a co mpany in one part of the world may
create serious problems in another. If Mitsubishi's Rare Earth plant
closes in Japan and moves to M alaysia, i t is n ot a victory. If this
same plant is forced to close in Mal aysia b ecause of its abuses, and
it moves to China or India, it is only displaci ng the problem once
more. We need to develop coh e re n t strategies that use the tactics
described above as wel l as many oth e rs , in a systematic effort to
force corporations to be accou n table and responsib l e , rather tha n
merely forcing t h e m t h e i n conve nience of seeking o u t the n ext path
of least resistance .

45
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

In order to come togeth er we must come to an understanding of


what co mmon principles and goals unite us, and begi n to advocate
the m together. For starters, such principles might include public
access to information, democratic participation an d community
control over develop ment decisions, requi ring clean production and
the use of the precautionary principle, the eli mination of double
standards between North and South, enforce men t of strict liability,
and the requ i rement of environmental i mpact assess ments. While
it would obviously take a tremendous a mount of dialogue to build a
common platform a mong many groups fighting various TNC
abuses, such a joint effort is necessary to combat the TNCs, who
are i ncreasingly working together to paint themselves g reen , whi le
secu ring thei r shared objectives of a less regulated, faster growing,
more p rofitable world economy.

TNCs, thoug h few i n n u mber ... are the mai n entities responsible for the
global e nvironmental crisis:
� TNCs i n oil p roductio n , road transport, chlorofluo rocarbon (C FC)
production, e lectricity generatio n , ene rgy-intensive metals p rod uction
and agriculture , acco u nt for roughly 50% of all emissio ns of
greenhouse gases, a ccording to a rece nt study by the U N Centre on
Transnational Corporations.
� TNCs dominate the trade in (and i n many cases the extractio n or
production of) natura l reso u rces and commodities, resulting i n
depletion or degradation o f forests, soils, wate r a n d mari n e resources
and biodive rsity, throug h mining, drilling , logging and large-scale
agricu ltu re .

� TNCs dominate global and national industry a n d transport, a n d a re


i nvolved i n produ ctio n activities resu lting i n atmo sph e ric polluti o n ,
industria l and occupatio nal hazards, toxic wastes and u nsafe
p roducts.

� TNCs are also the main transmitters of environmentally unsound


production syste ms and hazardous materials to the Third World .
Examples i nclude u nsafe pesticid es and pharmaceutical drugs
banned i n the cou ntry of orig i n but exported to the Third World; the
re locatio n of polluting ind ustries to the Third World a nd the i r operation
there with lower safety sta ndards ( resulting i n accidents such as the
Bhopal d isaste r i n Ind ia); the d u mping of radioactive waste i n the
South Pacific; and the expo rt of haza rdous wastes to Africa, Latin
Ame rica a nd parts of Asi a . '

F ro m : .Third World Network, Briefing Papers for U N CED n o . 7. For full text
of paper, see Third World Resurgence, April 1 992, pag e 2 1 -23.

46
Confronting TNCs

I n July 1 982 , M itsubishi i n a joint ventu re with loca l companies started the
Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Malaysia to extract yttri um from monazite
(a prod uct of tin tai l i ngs which is radioactive) . Yttri u m , a rare earth is used
in electrical , e lectronics, o ptical and med ical industries. In the p roduction
of yttri u m , radioactive dust and gases a re released , while the waste left
behind is also radioactive. In Fe bru a ry 1 985, eight residents from the
village of Bu kit M e rah, in the Northern Ma laysian state of Perak where the
ARE plant is site d, sued the company on behalf of themselves and the
1 0 ,000 villagers. They wanted ARE to stop producing , sto ring and ke eping
radioactive waste in the v illage v icinity .

This action created legal history in Malaysia as it was the first time that an
entire commu nity had got togethe r to act on an enviro nmental issue to
protect its he alth and env i ro nment from radioactive pollution. Seen in a
wider context, this public interest l itigation was of g re at significance to
peoples in the T h i rd World as it e p ito mised the struggle of a Third World
co mmunity to stop a Ja panese mu ltinational from doing in B u kit M e rah
what it co uld not do i n Japan.

After a protracted court battle, ( d u ring the co u rs e of which, so me of the


key leaders of the co mmu nity were d etained for two months i n 1 987 u nder
the co u ntry's harsh p reventive detention laws), the B ukit M e rah villagers
won their suit in J u ly 1 9 92. The factory was o rdered by the High Co u rt to
shut down within 1 4 days. However, hardly two weeks later, A R E filed an
appeal to the S u p reme Court and the Court granted an i nte rim suspension
of the High Co u rt o rder pending a ppeal following an ex parte application
by ARE. I n making the order, the Jud ges expressed the view that the
closure would harm ARE and cause hardship to worke rs.

The appeal against the High Co urt decisio n closing down the facto ry is
however still pending. Regard less of the outcome of the appeal , i t is
important that experie nces of these strugg les such as the above are
shared with peoples of other Third World count ries. In this respect, the
Third World Network i n p artnership w ith g ro u ps i n the North such as the
U S Natio nal Toxics Campaig n as well as G reenp eace has formed a global
network aga i nst toxics, esp ecially the trade i n prod ucts, wastes and
ind ustries. The inau g u ra l meeti ng was h e ld i n Penang in Fe bruary this
year. The object is to establish a n i nformation gathering centre and to set
up prog rammes to train g roups to take up issu es p e rtaining toxics and to
i nfluence gove m ment p o l icies on toxies .

From Third World Network. Briefing Papers for UNCED No. 7. For Full text of
paper, see Third World Resourcess, April 1992, page 2 1 -23.

47
Bekal Tourism Project
Qu estions raised by EQUAT IONS

n early 1 993, the Malayalam-Ianguage media in Kerala witnessed

I a heated encounter over the Bekal Special Tourism Area project,


billed as one of Asia's largest projects. Spread over a vast 1 000
acres of land in Kasargod district of North Kerala, the project is
expected to attract an investment of more than Rs 1 000 crores. 1

Leading the attack against the project was Ms Sujatha Devi,


weI/-known social activist and educator, in an article in
Mathrubhoomi Weekly, one of the two top newsweeklies in Kerala.
A rejoinder in defence of the project came from no less than
Mr K. Jayakumar, Special Secretary, Kerala Tourism, also as an
article in the same publication.

Mr Jayakumar's article al/eged that those opposing tourism were


socially irresponsible and ill-informed. He suggested they get their
facts straight before opposing Bekal and other tourism projects, and
offered to provide information - if requested.

Responding to his offer, EQUA TIONS wrote an open letter


asking for detailed information about Bekal. The letter was never
published in Mathrubhoomi, for reasons unknown to us, but we
circulated copies amongst concerned friends in Kerala. To give the
issue widerpublicity, we are making available an English translation
of the letter we wrote in July 1 993.

We also hope that it will help people elsewhere, faced by the


challenge of major tourism projects, to raise similar questions.
Whether or not such a process results in evoking a response from
government and industry, we believe it to be a helpful way of
evolving concerned debate within appropriate groups, a belief held
out by our experiences this past year in Kerala.

1 . US $ 1 = Rs 31 ; a crore is 1 0 m illion

48
Bekal

1 6 July 1 993

The Editor
Math ru b h oo mi Weekly
Calicut, Kerala.

S i r,

EQUATI O N S , a Bangalore based organ isation h as been


conducti n g .resea rch on Tou rism development for the last eight
years , artd is i nterested in tou rism iss ues from various perspectives.
We are aware of th e ongoing debates in Kerala reg a rding Tou rism ,
a n d read with g reat i nterest the a rti cle b y S ujatha Devi i n
Mathru b h oo mi (VoI . 1 5 , ) a n d M r .Jayaku mar's rejoi nder to it (VoI . 1 8) .

M r.Jayaku mar wants the critics o f Tou rism to fi rst find out what
the Bekal project i s all about, and offers his assistance i n this
respect. We a re h appy to seek specific and objective data regarding
the foll owi ng, and we hope h e will fu lfi ll his offer:

1 . What a re the stated o bjectives of the Bekal tou rist project? Are
these stated in a docu ment publ icly available?

2. Th e concept of Speci al Tou rism Areas ( STA) is part of recent


national touri sm pol icy, spelt out i n the National Action Plan for
Tou rism ( NAPT, 1 99 2 ) . What are the i mplicati ons, p articul a rl y
i n te rms of new legislation , o f th e STA tag being attached to
Bekal? What policy gu idelines and l aws , if any, exist for STAs?

Land Req u i re ments

3. What is ttl e total land requi red for th is p roject? How much is
gove rn ment land? How much land i s to be acqu i red? What
wou ld be the com pensation for land acq u i red f ro m p rivate
citizens?

4. I n the Land Acquisition Notification (as per the Land Acqu isition
Act) of April 1 9 , 1 993 i t i s stated : "whe rever the Gove rnment of
Ke rala dee ms it essential or l i kely to be essential , for a public
cause, i.e. the Bekal Tou rism p roject, the land enu merated in
th e fol lowi ng list, may be acq u i red, etc." How does the

49
Tourism Issues in Public Domain

government d efine "public purpose" and how does it j ustify a


tou rism p roject bei n g defi ned as such?

5. It is u n derstood that this project is going to be i mple mented on


a phased manner. What are the phase-wise plans? What are
the l ocations and d i mensions of land to be acq u i red at each
stage? Has any land su rvey been conducted so far? Do you
intend to publ ish the su rvey resu lts?

Capital Req u i rements

9. What is the total fin ancial outl ay for th is p roject?

1 0 . Will the infrastructu ral investment will be contributed by State


and / or Central G overn ment financial i nstituti ons? Which are
the i n stitu tions involved ?

1 1 . Has the Ke rala Government al ready ente red into any contract
or understanding with any p rivate company or i nternational
fu nding agency for funds, plan ning or execution of the p roject,
or d oes it intend to do so? What are the details of such
contracts?

1 2 . What contributions a re being esti mated from n ational and


international fin ancial agencies or companies, and for what
specific pu rposes will they be expected to contri b ute?

Ove rall Project Economics

1 3 . What are the economic benefits antici pated from the p roject,
both di rect and i n d irect? Has a feasibil ity study been conducted
and are the resu lts publicly available?

1 4 . How a re the basic infrastructu re faci lities (roads , railways ,


wate r, electricity, transport facil ities, mari n a , etc. ) envisaged to
be p roduced for the Bekal p roject? How does the Government
propose to finance these aspects?

1 5 . What is the e mployment potential of the p roject? What kinds of


employment wil l be generate d ?

1 6 . If o n e of the objectives of the project i s to p rovide e mp l oyment


opportu n ities, will vocational education b e imparted to the local

50
Bekal

population? How many people can be trained and in which


institutions? What is the cost that they will bear for the training?

1 7. Has there been a survey done of existing skills from which an


employment plan has been formulated?

Man agement and Mar keting Pol icies

1 8. W hat will be the pricing policy for the products and services
generated by this project? Has a cost-benefit study been done?

1 9. W hat is the marketing thrust of the project? W hich niche in the


tourist market does the project address itself to? Are there
specific schemes to achieve marketing objectives?

20. Have foreign advertising or Public Relations agencies been


hired to promote the project internationally?

21 . Have global tenders been floated to implement the project?


What is the nature of participation of foreign capital - will foreign
companies have equity partici pation ? Or will they be involved
through management contracts?

To u ri st Faci l ities

22. What are the tourist facilities planned? W hat categories


(star-rating) of hotels are required, and how many of each? How
man y Golf cou rses are intended, and of what acreage? W hat
will be the number of swimming pools, tennis courts etc.?

23. What are the p roposed entertainment alternatives for tourists:


discotheques , massage parlours, bars, casinos etc. ? How
man y of each ?

Regard ing Ecology

23. W hat are the measures taken to protect basic ecological


features, li ke water, air and land? Has any study been done on
the present status of these variables? To safeguard these what
a re the standards to be made applicable? How will aquatic
faun a be protected?

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Tourism Issues in Public Domain

24. Has an Environmental I mpact Assessment of the p roject been


undertaken , and the necessary resu ltin g approval obtained
from the Union Ministry of Environ ment and Forests. When was
. the clearance g ranted?

25. What is the estimated 'carrying capacity' of Bekal as a tou rist


attraction? On what basis has this been estimated? Is a report
publicly available?

25. Since the project is coming up in an area that is known to be


short of water, how will provision be made for adequ ate water
supply? For exa mple, is there a p roposal for a desalination
plant?

26 . How will waste water be managed ? Wil l there be sewage


treatment plants? How will effluent standards be mon itored?

27. What area of forestry is goi n g to be cleared in the project area?


What are the plans for reforestation? What species of trees are
to be introduced for orn a mental or other purposes?

Finally, Mr.Jayakumar asserts: "Those who equate tou rism with


the underworld of Goa or Kovalam forget that there is a concept of
Tourism that ru ns counter to and beyond this."

We would be happy to know more about the concept


Mr.Jayakumar is alluding to, conceived where, when and by whom?
Which are the international touris m desti nations where this concept
has been successfu lly imple mented? What is the difference
between this concept and the Kovalam-Goa model? I n what ways
does this concept apply to the plans for Sekal?

We hope the above objective data will enable all concerned to


assess the issues involved i mpartially and i nitiate an open
discuss ion on the full implications and ramifications of the Sekal
project.

Sincerely,

K T Su resh
Coordinator

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