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Boat race turns out to be a VIP affair

Boat race turns out to be a VIP affair
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The threeday F1H2O international boat racing competitions in Amaravati turned out to be an exclusive affair for VIPs and influential sections The organisers issued passes for VIPs and the arrangements like seating were limited to them, leaving no space for common people who came to see the international event had to return disappointed

Vijayawada: The three-day F1H2O international boat racing competitions in Amaravati turned out to be an exclusive affair for VIPs and influential sections. The organisers issued passes for VIPs and the arrangements like seating were limited to them, leaving no space for common people who came to see the international event had to return disappointed.

The common people were not allowed in to tents where the sitting space was provided by organisers. The tourism department spent Rs 13 crore for the event but it was confined to VIPs. In fact, the tourism department, which spent Rs 13 crore for the race, and event organisers gave publicity that nearly one lakh people would watch the races every day.

However, that claims were not reflected in arrangements. The entire Punnami Ghat was allotted to VIPs and galleries were set up for their convenience. Lack of coordination between tourism department, organisers, police and other departments involved in the arrangements dented the spirit of event.

At first, the visitors faced a tough time in parking their vehicles. No proper guidance was given and boards were not set up near the venue. Police and private security deployed at the venue proved to be ineffective, forcing visitors park their vehicles in no parking zones and on road side, leading to traffic hurdles on national highway stretch.

Later, visitors faced similar situation to reach their galleries. Even the pass holders were not guided properly. Most of the ghat area was earmarked for only VIPs while some space was provided at Bhavani Ghat adjacent to Punnami ghat for other visitors.

No tents or any other sitting space were provided for audience though the event was marred by rain on the first day and scorching sun for the next two days. Besides, the common people did not get proper visibility to get memorable experience of the race. Some people tried to watch the races from Prakasam barrage but the security personnel did not allow them.

Suvarna Raju, who reached the venue along with his family members from Pedapalem of Guntur district, said that the aim of the event was good but the government should have provided sitting facilities and tents for common visitors too. He told The Hans India that suitable watching place should be provided to all spectators equally.

One constable on condition of anonymity said that they did not get proper food during the three days. He said that half of the staff could get only food packets. He said that their services were being neglected in many events like boat races.

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