Vizag’s yearly gala: The Visakha Utsav

An artist (Non – Cultural) Performing at Visakha Utsav

As the city gears up to roll down the curtains of the year, a grand celebration was put in line to forVizag’s famous tourism festival’ VisakhaUtsav’.The festival has become a traditionfor the City of Destiny, celebrating the fun, joy and happiness as the most favourite festival of the city to be celebrated by the Vizagites. The state government has instructed the district administration to organise the event on par with the Brazilian Carnival.

The fest for the city folks, celebrating the spirits of Visakhapatnam, was inaugurated by the Minister for Human Resources Development, GoAP, GantaSrinivasa Rao and Speaker Kodella Siva Prasad Rao. The entire stretch of the 2-km on the beach road, starting from R.K. Beach to VUDA Park, was choked with mostly the  students.Local talents of North Coastal districts comprising Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram performed in the carnival walk held on the inaugural day.Other cultural activities were also performed on a stage named Jatara.  

It was an absolute tour of spectacular culture, tourism aspects of the city. Every nook and corner of the city a beautifully decorated with lights; welcoming tourists and folks into the utsav arena with entertaining dance performances, amusing, captivating helicopter rides, extra-ordinary flower show and divine temple replicas. The main attraction of the festival was the flower show‘Parimala’, exhibited at Vuda Park displaying various varieties of flowers from Bangalore city.

The food stalls were set by various restaurants and hotels on the beach shoreattracting tourists with different food items and local dishes.The EasternNaval Command alsocontributed their part to the carnival exhibiting waterfeats like sail boat corvette race, sea swimming by divers and search-rescue operations by helicopter.  The HRD Minister GantaSrinivasa Rao accompanied by the District Collector Praveen Kumar inaugurated the Heli-tourism rideat the Heli-padin Rushikondaandgave away first couple of tickets to the tourists and flagged off the helicopter.  The Heli-tourism is currently being operated by VUDA in association with public sector carrier, Pawan Hans.All the departments including VUDA Park, Greater Visakhapatnam, Municipal Corporation (GVMC), Revenue, Tourism, Endowment and Police have left no stone un-turned for the smooth  conductof the festival.

On the contrary

The utsav was however inaugurated without the presence of the Cultural and Tourism Ministerof Andhra Pradesh, BhoomaAkhilaPriya which states that there was no coordinationamong the Public servants to follow up with the Ministers and MLA’s. Not only this but except then the HRD Minister GantaSrinivasa Rao and Marketing Minister Ch. Adinarayana Reddy none of the public representatives of the area ( MLA’s and MP’s)were bothered to attend the festival nor to support it.

Also, it shows a sheer ignorance on the part of the government, lack of thought on transferring the event management responsibility to E-Factor’s- an Event Management Company from Pune,which wasproved to be a failure in organisingthe same VisakhaUtsav in 2016. Still, the responsibility was given to the same event management company,along with other events like ArakuBalloon Festival, Sounds on Sand, and Cooking Olympiad.

Though there are ‘N’ number of  event management companies in the city, whichmay bid for loweramounts even, yet the event responsibilities were given to E-Factor’savoiding the local ones and chose to spend crores of public moneyon external organisations. Needless to state further that this particular act of the local officials for whatever given reasons, does not only hurt the sentiments of vizagites but also gives the scope for suspection….. The objective to conduct the festival is to develop City of Desitny -Vizaglacking in developmental aspects of sustainable tourism, and promotion of our culture and tradition, instead we are adapting western culture.

Also, only the beach road stretch of the city is being used for such an event ignoring rest of all the places of interest in and around the city. Organising shows and other such events in places like Sagar Nagar Beach, Tenneti Park, Bheemili Beach etc  would promote their potential and also reduce traffic congestions to a large extent in the city.

Will only spending hefty sanctioned budgets, define tourism of the city?

Should the tourism authorities encourage the local event management firms?

Such questions still stand clueless.