Khammam : The crisis triggered by coronavirus may prove a stumbling block to the ambitious plan of the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) to develop the picturesque Palair reservoir in Kusumanchi mandal into a recreational zone and promote a slew of community-based tourism initiatives. As part of a grand tourism promotion plan, boat riding services were introduced in the reservoir a couple of years ago. The site has become a popular boating spot due to its location near the Khammam-Suryapet highway and its picturesque surroundings. Encouraged by good response to the boat riding services, the DTPC entrusted the task of maintaining the boat ride facility to the Palair Gram Panchayat as part of a community-based tourism project to run the services in a self-sustaining manner a few years ago.
A group of local youths were given special training by experts from the National Institute of Water Sports for this purpose. After an enthusiastic start, the initiative faced some hiccups due to financial constraints in carrying out repairs to the boats and maintaining the park abutting the reservoir, a hub of freshwater fish and prawn culture, sources added. An ambitious plan to construct a suspension bridge and cottages to develop the reservoir site into a major tourism and recreational zone remained a non-starter. The pandemic crisis came as a major setback to the tourism promotion plans at the site.
There had been a sharp drop in the footfall of visitors to the Palair reservoir, the hotspot for boat ride, post-lockdown, said a local fisherman. When contacted, the District Tourism Officer Suman Chakravarthy said two boats including a 25-seater motor boat and another small motor boat are being operated daily at Palair reservoir under the aegis of the Palair Gram Panchayat. All precautions are being followed as per the COVID-19 safety protocols during the boat ride, he added.