VIJAYAWADA: Citizens of Vijayawada began their Sankranti celebrations on a colourful note, with Krishna district witnessing boat races - a major draw - in which over 200 persons took part, on Saturday at Nagayalanka.
Speaking to Express, V Ramulu, a participant in the boat race, who came from Palavelli in West Godavari district said, “Every year, I come here to take part in the boat race festival. I along with my 10-member team have come here. Last year I won a cash prize of Rs 10,000. I want to win this year too.”
People thronged the bank of Krishna at Nagayalanka to take home memories of the first day of the gripping boat races that saw over 27 teams vying for the top slot.
Inaugurating the boat race event, Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Kollu Ravindra said that the State government was concerned about the development of sports in the State and was giving huge importance to it.
The Minister said, “The state has a large coastline and we want to make best use of it. We are starting an academy, exclusively for water sports, soon and we will train all the interested people there. There are 58 medals in Olympics, exclusively for water sports. With best coaching to the candidates, we are sure to get a few more Olympic medals in the long run. Today, I feel very happy to celebrate Sankranti festival on a large scale here in Nagayalanka.”
Mandali Buddha Prasad, Deputy Speaker of AP Legislative Assembly, who was present on the occasion said, “Boat race culture is more prevalent in Kerala. But here in Nagayalanka, boat races have as much prominence as they have in Kerala. Soon tourism department of AP would develop this place as the most sought after tourist destination in the coastal corridor by introducing houseboats, developing the lighting in the area and by erecting AC tents in the nearby islands.”
Later the Minister, along with the Deputy Speaker, laid the foundation stone of a water sports academy to be built at an estimated cost of `3 crore. Apart from the boat races the celebrations featured rangoli competition and a few games, such as lemon and spoon, kabaddi, etc for women.
Along side boat races there were events and games, especially for women
AP Tourism dept’s plan
Nagayalanka to be developed as the most sought after tourist destination in the coastal corridor; there would be houseboats; the lighting in the area would be developed; AC tents would be erected in the nearby islands.
Foundation stone of a water sports academy, to be built at an estimated cost of J3 crore, laid.