After the closure of Machhli Ghar, a famous landmark of Bhopal, on March 31, fish from a unique fish-shaped aquarium have been finally shifted, much to the disappointment of local people.
Of the 66 varieties of fish, the fish that were in small aquariums have been shifted into a building of fisheries department at Bhadbhada, while more than a dozen fish varieties that were in heavy aquariums have been shifted to Dahod Raisen, where they have been put in cages in a fisheries pond.
The sole tortoise in the aquarium is yet to be shifted.
People in Bhopal were emotionally attached to Machhli Ghar and the thought that they will no longer be able to see more than one-fifth of 66 fish varieties, makes them sad.
Many of them are curious to know what happened to the fish.
"I have been going with my friends and relatives who visit us to Machhli Ghar since my childhood. The fish are an intrinsic part of my childhood memories. When government decided to shut the Machhli Ghar, I was worried what would happen to the fish and where would they be taken. Will they get the same love and care at their new accommodation?" said Kailash Tiwari, a resident of Jehangirabad.
Another regular visitor to the aquarium, Samir Verma, a private employee, said if the state government wanted the land of Machhli Ghar, they should have first constructed an aquarium.
"Why should fish be put in temporarily accommodations which are designed as aquariums," he said.
HT visited Bhadbhada and found that many fish varieties had been put in the entrance lobby and a room, where work was on to create iron-grills that would support the small aquariums.
Some fish were put in a plastic rectangular tank in one corner of the corridor. Many aquariums were put in the room, with cupboards on one side.
Assistant fisheries officer RK Jain said he was overseeing the work of creating supporting structures and other facilities for 47 varieties of fish that would be put at Bhadbhada.
"I hope people will come here also to see fish like they have done in the past," he said.
Aquarium curator Pradeep Srivastava told HT that more than a dozen fish varieties have been put in cages in fisheries pond at Dahod Raisen, while 47 varieties have been shifted to Bhadbhada.
"Till a new aquarium is constructed here, 47 fish varieties would be housed in the building where people can see them," he said.
Machhli Ghar will be demolished for the construction of the state capital's first five-star hotel.
The aquarium popular with the tourists and city’s children was shut down for public on March 31.
The state government has handed over the possession of 3.16 acre land and building of the aquarium to the tourism department.
The state government has plans to construct a new aquarium in public private partnership (PPP) mode on the land of fisheries department at Bhadbhada on the outskirts of Bhopal.