APTDC to set up facilities for tourists in the sprawling 133-acre river island. Among the other attractions, the long-awaited Shilparamam, the arts and crafts village, will be a reality soon.

Visitors to the picturesque Bhavani Island have been complaining about the absence of eye-catching features that could lure tourists to it. Their demand is finally being taken care of by the A.P. Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). The sprawling 133-acre river island will soon be sprinkled with facilities that please holidaymakers.

Among the other attractions, the long-awaited Shilparamam, the arts and crafts village, will be a reality soon.

An area of 20 acres in the island has been earmarked for the purpose, and the Centre had released funds worth Rs. 5 crore under the 13 Finance Commission plan.

The new facility is aimed at popularising arts and crafts by the rural folks of the region. “It may not be as big as the one in Hyderabad, but all facilities available there will be replicated here. The 20-acre stretch will include an amphitheatre and shops for artisans to sell their products. The tender process will start in the first week of June, and the project may take nine months to a year to complete. We intend to finish it before March 31 next year,” V. Madhusuan, Special Officer, Projects, APTDC, said on Monday.

The Shilparamam project was kept pending for long for want of land. After toying with several other places which posed technical issues, the APTDC finally zeroed in on the Island. “Since the Island has also been left unattended to for long, the new feature will complement and supplement the tourist destination,” says Mr. Madhusudan.

Special Chief Secretary (Tourism), Chandana Khan, during her last visit to Berm Park, which is a 7-minute boat-ride from the island, had described the island as a prized possession of the APTDC and had promised that it would get all that it deserved to attract tourist flow.

She also referred to the world famous Kondapally toys made by the toy-makers of Kondapally village near Vijayawada and the many exquisite weaves done with great skill by local artisans in areas surrounding Vijayawada, which will be showcased at Shilparamam village.

A rural museum, nestled amidst trees, sculptures, life-size images depicting day-to-day activities of rural artisans will make a kaleidoscope of colour, diversity and talent, which is sure to entice visitors in droves.

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