P. Sujatha Varma

VIJAYAWADA: Accelerating the pace of development works taken up at Manginapudi beach near Machilipatnam, the tourism department is gearing up for the big day. `Tourism enriches' is the United Nations' theme for this year's World Tourism Day on September 27.

Tourism officials in Krishna district are in no mood to let go the occasion without leaving an impact. By choosing the day to throw open to the public the renovated beach resort, they intend to announce to the world the purpose of the day. "It is mainly to spread awareness that tourism is important and it affects the social, cultural, political and economic values," says District Tourism Officer P. Vemana.

Ravaged by tsunami

The beach was closed down to facilitate its renovation after it was completely destroyed in the December 26 tsunami a couple of years ago.

The few structures that were built by then, such as changing rooms and a restaurant, were washed away in the tidal waves, prompting the authorities concerned to begin afresh the beach development activity.

As part of the first phase of the beautification plan, the department invested nearly Rs. 40 lakhs to develop infrastructure like new sophisticated changing rooms, eat-outs, floodlights and playthings for children, besides developing a parking space for vehicles and introducing beach sports.

"The maintenance of the beach has been handed over to a private party who would collect user charge from visitors to maintain the resort," explains Mr. Vemana.

Tenders were called for and the highest bidder was given a consent letter by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

User charges

Towards user charges, a visitor would have to pay Rs. 3 for using the changing room. Similarly, Re 1 would be charged for parking a bicycle, Rs. 5 for two-wheelers and three-wheelers and Rs. 10 for four-wheelers.

In an attempt to highlight the new attractions at the beach, the department is eager to complete all official formalities by September 20.

The contractor responsible for the maintenance of the place will issue identity cards to the vendors who, in turn, will remain accountable to him for serving quality food to the visitors.

Satisfied with the new mode of operation, the department now plans to follow similar contract pattern for two guesthouses at Hamsaladeevi, the point of confluence of the Krishna with the Bay of Bengal near Avanigadda.