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Panambur Beach Has A Warrior
June 05, 2011
Panambur Beach Has A Warrior


5 June 2011

Jaideep Shenoy, Mangalore:

"If you don't respect the environment, you don't deserve to be respected" - the maxim that Yathish Bykampady, 46-year-old chief executive officer of Panambur Beach Tourism Development Project, swears and lives by. It is this no-nonsense attitude towards environmental degradation which has ensured that visitors coming to Panambur beach, around 10 km away from here, gets to enjoy this gift of nature in its most pristine, unadulterated form.

When Yathish quit his job with the State Bank of India four years ago to start the project with his friend Issac Vaz, under the beach management concept mooted by then deputy commissioner M Maheshwar Rao, it raised quite a few eyebrows among his family and friends. But in his heart, Yathish knew that the connect that he had felt with the seashore each time he came to his grandmother's place at Bykampady as a child had to be re-established.

"When I was posted in Mangalore I did not have friends, and Panambur beach was my only companion," said Yathish to STOI. The beach, at the time the project took over its management, had become a dumping ground. "I could not tolerate filth. This spurred me to give a proposal to Maheshwar Rao to manage the beach privately," he said. This became a reality in September 2008 when the district administration handed over the beach on a 10-year contract period to the project with a condition of renewing it every five years based on performance.

Post September 2008, Panambur beach, now in private control, has returned to its original pristine form, deviod of filth and muck.

The odd tourist who thought otherwise and discarded waste on the beach got an earful in full public view.

"This public shaming of errant tourists who litter and damage the beach has sent a clear message to others and they now think twice before doing something similar," he says. His next initiative is to advance an agenda taken up by current DC N S Channappa Gowda, who wants to ban plastics from Panambur and Tannirbhavi beaches from July 15.

"If we get the support of the Home Guards and the green police, we can get there earlier," Yathish added.

The impact of the private beach management initiative, apart from ensuring a cleaner greener beach, includes the employment that it has generated to the local fishing community, he said.

There are 12 individuals directly under the project and a further 18 more who work for the various outsourced jobs such as managing the parking lot, cleaning the beach and handling the water sport rides. Their intimate knowledge of the sea comes in handy while handling crowds at the beach, he adds.