The two-day beach festival organised by the Udupi Utsava Committee got off to a colourful start at the Malpe beach here on Saturday.
At the inaugural function, T.V. Hegde, Chairman of Coastal Development Authority (CDA), said that there was a lot of scope for the development of tourism in coastal districts, including Udupi. The CDA would soon hold talks with Tourism Minister Anand Singh to give a fillip to tourism in these districts.
To promote tourism at Malpe beach, the CDA had urged Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to release funds for widening (four-laning) of Adiudupi-Malpe beach road. Beach festivals would go a long way in promoting traditional sports, he said.
Inaugurating the festival, president of the zilla panchayat Upendra Nayak lauded the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) for the successful conduct of Udupi Utsav and Beach Festival in the past two years. He hoped that the beach festival would become a major tourist attraction in the coming years.
Presiding over the inaugural function, Udupi CMC president Kiran Kumar said that it was not possible for the CMC alone to organise the beach festival with its meagre funds. The beach festival could be made an annual event in the coming years only if the government allocated more funds to it, he added.
After releasing colourful balloons in the air at the inaugural function, Mr. Hegde and Mr. Nayak flagged off the bicycle race. Events such as a drawing competition, tug-of-war, sand sculpting and swimming competitions will be held on Sunday. There will be a kite-flying programme, a dog show and a music programme.