The picturesque Bhavani Island in river Krishna is considered a prized possession of the Tourism Department in Andhra Pradesh but the scenic spot has never got the recognition it deserves.
For the picnickers, holiday-makers and tourists eager to see the island resort transforming into a world-class tourist destination, the wait has just got longer.
After an inordinate delay in implementation of its slew of promises to add new and attractive features to the island resort, the AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) has now washed its hands of the beautification project. “The long-pending Bhavani Island beautification will have to wait for some more time. Since it is one of the components of the master plan drawn by the Singapore-based consultants, the APTDC has been asked not to ‘tamper’ with the island. There are mega plans in store for the island but Singapore will deal with it,” Amarendra Kumar, Executive Director (Projects), APTDC, told The Hindu .
Sources in the tourism sector have been talking about development of the island resort on the lines of world famous Sentosa Island of Singapore, which is equipped with world-class attractions like a 2-km-long sheltered beach, fort Siloso, two golf courses, 14 hotels and the famous Resorts World Sentosa featuring the theme park.
The APTDC’s ‘potential spot left in neglect’ has apparently caught the fancy of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu who is keen on grooming this property to attract tourists from across the world.
Inaugurated in 2004 by the then Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy amidst great hype, the island resort spread across 133 acres was dubbed as ‘the best thing to have happened’ to the entertainment-starved Vijayawada city. The place became a hot destination for picnickers overnight with facilities like 24 cottages in four clusters, a restaurant and bar, a conference room and adventure games besides the twin deck cruise Bodhisiri and a couple of speed boats.
Introduced with an initial cost of Rs. 2.6 crore, the APTDC promised to add more features like water sports, a state-of-the-art spa, an aerial ropeway project and more recently a crafts village on the lines of Shilparamam. The promised addition of new features did not happen and neither did the officials take up repairs of the worn out play equipment, games and other paraphernalia at the island.
The floods partially damaged the island but the officials remained silent spectators citing fund crunch. The gap, at one point, was also attributed to the wait for the new tourism policy as it was believed that it would encourage private investors to take up the project. After a delay, the new tourism policy is finally out but the APTDC looks to Singapore consultants.