Site increased from 2.92 acres to 10 acres; UT Administration wants to house dolphins in it
The proposed world-class aquarium in the city,which was originally conceptualised to be near Sukhna Lake over a 2.92-acre area,has now been shifted to a 10-acre plot in Sarangpur. The Administration has reasoned that it wants dolphin shows there,which needs an area of at least 10 acres. The project,which is under discussion for nearly three years now,has hit several stumbling blocks. The issue of having dolphins in the aquarium arose during the last meeting held among officials of UT Administration and fishery-experts last month. The idea of the fourth-generation aquarium was modelled on Sentosa Island in Singapore,which also inspired a theme park in Chandigarh.
A Delhi-based consultant,Darashaw and Company Private Limited,has submitted the detailed concept plan of the aquarium. Reasons for shifting the site from Sukhna lake to Sarangpur include 4-D shows,dolphin shows,theme-based underwater restaurants and the like. The entire cost of the project is estimated at Rs 226.77 crore,which include around Rs 9 crore for dolphins and other marine creatures,around Rs 125 crore for the plant and machinery,around Rs 25.53 crore for civil construction work,around Rs 42 crore for parking,around Rs 3 crore for foundation,Rs 40 lakh for gaming machinery,and Rs 11 crore for preliminary expenses and contingencies.
According to the concept plan,the construction shall be complete within 18 months. The concept estimates annual footfall at the aquarium at 6.48 lakh. The latest plot for the aquarium does not meet all the requirements for the construction of such a lofty aquarium. All aquariums referred to by the consultant in the concept plan are constructed on sea coasts and are part of ocean parks or adventure/water parks.
It is a fourth generation world-class aquarium. The project is on track. It will have many world-class features,which would attract a large number of tourists, said a senior UT Administration official.
On the other hand,fishery experts call it a too-far-fetched concept.
It is not easy to house dolphins in a place like Chandigarh. It would be nothing but a man-made pit,where the Administration is planning to hold dolphin shows. All other such aquariums across the world are located on coastal areas. Nobody seems to have given a thought to this fact that Chandigarh is thousands of miles away from sea. The Sukhna Lake,a landmark in Chandigarh has been craving for water,and here we talk of a world class aquarium to house dolphins, said an expert.