Despite a clear diktat from the State Ministry of Water Resources earlier this week to curb wastage of water in water parks and swimming pools in the wake of drought situation in Maharashtra, water sports activity in the district seems to be going on unchecked and unhindered. Although there is a blanket ban on “rain dance”, several water parks are going ahead with the activity. All the water parks that The Indian Express spoke to are open and are taking bookings for the day of Holi.
Last week, in the wake of the depleting water levels in dams, collectors were asked to take action against water parks in the district found wasting water. The letter was issued by Minister Girish Mahajan on Friday to all collectors and they have been asked to take the necessary action in the coming weeks and conduct checks. Mahajan had also communicated to the collectors that rain dance functions – that simulate a downpour and are very popular during Holi functions- were a strict no.
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“There are several water parks that are open and in the wake of drought-like conditions in the district and state, these activities need to be bought under control and regulations would soon be issued on them as per the state’s directions,” said District Collector Saurabh Rao.
Of the five water parks that The Indian Express spoke to, all said that they were open and will remain open on the day of Holi although some of them said they wouldn’t organise any special event for the festival.
Of these, Krushnai Water Park (village Donje, Sinhagad Road) and Wet N’Joy in Kamshet said that besides the water rides, wave pool and other sports, rain dance activity is also held in the park. Three others namely Manntraa Resort (Navi Peth), Diamond Water Park (Lohegaon) and Sentosa Water Park (Ravet on Pune-Mumbai Expressway) said that although special arrangements for Holi have been done, no rain dance will be carried out due to directives given by the state government.
“We are open on all days and accepting the Holi bookings. There are about 30 different rides and we will also be organising a rain dance, wave pool among other things,” said a woman manning the telephone for inquiries and online bookings for Krushnai Water Park.
On Friday Wet N’Joy, a water park owned by Malpani Group in Kamshet, was inaugurated. On the day of the inauguration, members of a political outfit also staged a protest saying the water sports activity will lead to wastage of water especially when the state is facing acute water shin the water scarcity situation.
“We have all kinds of rides and also organise a rain dance event every day,” a man who identified himself as a supervisor at the water park told The Indian Express over phone. An HR Manager for the park when contacted for a comment, said that although the water park is open and rain dance activity takes place, the park won’t hold any special event for Holi. We are taking utmost care not to waste water. We get our water from a redundant quarry and every drop of water is recycled. So the concern you are raising is addressed,” said the manager.
Collector Rao said that he allowed the inauguration of WetN’Joy after the organisers assured him that they will take due care. “However, a team from the district administration will be checking all the water resorts shortly,” said Rao.
Earlier this week, the state government had also cracked down on public and private swimming pools saying they should remain closed until further order.
A manager with the Sentosa Water Park said that in the light of the water scarcity scenario, the management has decided to scrap Holi event and have also suspended the rain dance functions. “We are open but some activities have been called off temporarily,” said the manager.