KAIKALURU (KRISHNA): The road to Atapaka pelican paradise, an important location in Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary, is badly in need of repairs. The ramshackle road is virtually preventing the bird watchers from having a close look at the exotic birds.
Atapaka pelican paradise houses about 2,000 pelicans at any time of the year, with the number going up to 4,000 or 5,000 between November and February. It has been developed by the wildlife division of the Forest Department and is just 3 km away from Kaikaluru. Boating facility and watch towers are available for the tourists to have close encounters with the winged creatures.
“The Forest Department has developed Atapaka pelican paradise in 300 acres. We have taken all care for the birds to stay here without any disturbances. Earlier, Atapaka was frequented by bird-watchers and tourists but there were no facilities. So we decided to develop it as a bird-watching centre and set up a watch tower and boats. Also, there are about 140 stands in the lake for the birds to lay eggs and stay. There is also an environment education centre at Atapaka to create awareness for the visitors about various birds available in Kolleru lake,” said DFO Rammohan Rao.
Their efforts paid off with the pelicans taking a liking for the place. But all the good work done inside the pelican paradise is going waste on account of lack of a good approach road. Atapaka village is located on the Kaikaluru-Bhimavaram road and is visible after travelling a distance of 1.5 km from Kaikaluru. Then, a 1.5-km narrow road from the main road leads to the pelican paradise.
“We have come all the way from Karimnagar to watch pelican birds at Kolleru wildlife sanctuary. The environs inside are nice but the road is in a very bad condition. We did not believe that this is the road which leads to a famous spot like Atapaka pelican paradise,” said Sambamurthy.
The bad condition of the road is due to the indifference of the local people to the Kolleru wildlife sanctuary and the reluctance of the Roads and Buildings Department in developing it. “The road was once a canal bund and a person had laid a road to provide a way to reach his pond. Even if we want to develop the road, there is no scope for it as there is no support from the local people. We have made efforts to create awareness among them without success,” said an official belonging to the Forest Department.
The situation has turned out to be so pathetic that the people of the village have opposed even the setting up of a direction board at the entrance point of the approach road on the Kaikaluru main road.