The long-awaited amphitheatre at Bhavani Island is finally ready for use but there seems to be no takers.
Special Chief Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Chandana Khan, recently inaugurated the structure, which took almost a decade for it to acquire its final shape, but now stands unused.
The primary purpose of the project was to entertain the visitors by organising musical nights and other cultural events on weekends. “We tried attracting people by hosting cultural programmes for about two weeks. But there seem to be no takers. The distance of the island from the city is perhaps what keeps the crowds at bay. An attempt to lure local residents in the nearby areas also did not yield the desired result,” laments T. Baboji, the Divisional Manager of the APTDC.
The authorities now are finding ways to put the theatre to some use by letting it out for rent. The open circular structure surrounded by tiers of seats for spectators has taken a long time to take its final shape. The amphitheatre, water sports, and an amusement park besides a health spa have always been on the anvil of the Tourism officials. While the first one stands redundant, the other features still seem to be a distant dream.
According to sources, funds to the tune of Rs. 2 crore were sanctioned to the Tourism Corporation for construction of amphitheatre, gazebos and pathways in 2004. Of this, Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh were spent on development works. Meanwhile, floods destroyed a major part of the island, watering down efforts to spruce up the place.
The very idea of having access to an island resort tucked in nature’s lap and dotted with attractive amusement features like a cruise boat, food plazas and fun and adventure games had caught the fancy of the local people. Ms. Khan had declared Bhavani Island as the prized possession of APTDC since ‘it is the only island resort in Andhra Pradesh”.
Sluggishness has been the hallmark of the local authorities in developing this tourist destination spread across a sprawling 130-acres. Inaugurated amidst much fanfare in 2004, the mega project stands as a monument of neglect even after a decade.
Many families avoid visiting the island which is seen more is a ‘paradise of lovers’. A couple of years ago , some efforts were made to improve the reputation of the place by initiating a set of norms. But a drastic fall in the revenue prompted a quick turn-around and the island once again opened its doors for love birds.