Vijayawada: A fleet of dozen-odd new boats have arrived in River Krishna. The new catamarans that have traveled miles from where they were built in Florida in the US, arrived in their new home, the River Krishna in Vijayawada, on Wednesday.
The investment by Watersports Simple India Pvt. Ltd. owned by a US-based NRI, represents a significant enhancement to waters ports scenario in Andhra Pradesh.
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) signed a PPP agreement with the Watersports Simple India Private Limited permitting it to operate its boats in coastal AP. The firm is promoted by a US investor Paparao Gummadapu who is already operating similar boats in Machilipatnam and Rajamahendravaram.
“A similar project is in the pipeline for Tirupati and Kakinada and in the next couple of years, we intend to operate adventure water sports in 16 destinations across Andhra Pradesh at an estimated cost of ₹ 80 crore,” said the firm’s Executive Director Tarun Kakani.
The new boats will operate at Bhavani Island, Punnami Ghat and near Krishnaveni motel at Seetanagaram.
APTDC Managing Director Girija Shankar said the initiative will bring large inflow of tourists to the location. He said youngsters especially would love to explore these adventure sports and the new facility would cater to this segment.
Chairman V. Jayarami Reddy said the operators must keep the affordability factor in mind. The new mode of amusement should be within the reach of the common man, he emphasised.
Of the dozen boats, a luxury pontoon christened as Pushkarini, is the highlight. “It can take in 16-18 persons, has a self-driven mechanism, propelled by power-steered and it is equipped with FM radio and WiFi. This is perhaps the only boat with sofa seats available in it,” said Mr. Kakani.
The boat is also fitted with ambience lights and has a fender, a bumper used to absorb the kinetic energy of a vessel berthing against a jetty or other vessels. “The fenders prevent damage to vessels and berthing structures,” he explained.
Other boats in the fleet include Livingston cruise boats to porta boats and Hobie kayaks along with some inflatable speed boats that can be used for rescue operations or emergency transport of officers. “The safety standards of these boats are world class and every care is being taken to keep the adventure element intact,” he said.
Mr. Kakani said there would be different fares for different segments. “We would charge affordable price from the common man while for corporate class, the charges will be slightly higher.”
Confederation of Indian Industry’s Andhra Pradesh vice-president J.S.R.K. Prasad, CII IT’s AP wing convenor D. Ramakrishna and KLU vice-president Raja Harin Koneru were also present.
The 133-acres sprawl of the picturesque island perched in the river has always been on top of the government’s agenda as far as development of tourism in Andhra Pradesh is concerned. Former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy inaugurated the island resort developed by the tourism wing in 2004 and said that the place would be groomed into a major tourist destination by taking up development activities in a phased manner.
It has taken over a decade for the island to gain momentum as almost all projects planned for it had to be shelved for some reason or the other. Of late, the island resort has acquired a rare buzz with a few private investors bringing in water sports and other adventure activities, both in the river and in the island resort.