Uncertainty over Flamingo Festival at Pulicat Lake
DECCAN CHRONICLE | AVINASH P. SUBRAMANYAM
Tirupati: A question mark is hanging over Flamingo Festival around Pulicat Lake in Sullurpet mandal of Tirupati district, which usually starts in January, as it has not yet seen the light of day, though the calendar is down to third week of February.
The festival, which bird watchers thirst for since it first started in 2001, could not be held during past two years due to Covid-19 pandemic. Bird enthusiasts have been hoping for a visual feast this time. But apparent shortage of funds, apart from the model code of conduct, appear to be obstacles.
Thousands of migratory birds of 80 different species from world over, particularly flamingos, begin visiting areas surrounding Pulicat Lake and Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary from October. The migration peaks around December. Tourism department started organising the Flamingo Festival in Januarys from 2001, so that people, particularly bird enthusiasts, can witness the teeming aquatic and terrestrial species, such as painted storks, large and little egrets, grey pelicans, grey herons, northern pintails and common teal.
The annual three-day festival is held in Tada, Sullurpet and Doravarisatram regions, with bus transportation provided to the sanctuary and boating facilities made available in Pulicat Lake.
The last edition of the Flamingo Festival had been held from January 3 to January 5 in 2020, drawing almost five lakh visitors. But this year, even though it is the third week of February, authorities are yet to take a call on holding the festival. As there has been no mention of it yet, it is believed lack of funds is affecting the festival.
When contacted, Department of Tourism regional director Dr. Ramana Prasad said they have held a preliminary discussion on the bird festival. Department officials have also visited Pulicat Lake to assess the situation.
Dr. Ramana Prasad maintained that the festival will be conducted. But there is a delay owing to the model code of conduct due to MLC elections and other reasons. A meeting with district collector will be held soon to take a decision, he added.