Suniel Shetty’s water sports complex on Girgaum’s
beach has been in the eye of a storm for years now. In 2004, H2O was sealed by the collector for non-payment of entertainment tax, amounting to Rs 24 lakh. But Shetty now insists that H2O will reopen in October.
In 2008, Bombay High Court issued a notice to Shetty and his partners, following a PIL that questioned the construction of a restaurant, Salt Water Grill, on the grounds that it is built on the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 1. There was even talk of the aqua park being demolished.
The actor-entrepreneur had earlier admitted that “H2O was facing problems”. And unlike his partner, Rajiv Somani of Dhrishti Adventure Sports Pvt Ltd, who has been quoted as saying, “let the beach go back to the bootleggers”, Shetty was optimistic about his legal department handling the problems. “I have the support of a huge community that believes that what I’m doing is good for the city,” he asserted.
City needs Water Park
The aqua sports park had introduced Mumbaikars to the pleasures of parasailing, wind surfing, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, jet boat and sea boat skiing, sunrise and moonlight cruises. It has not been operational for months now. “May to September is the monsoon season. We shut down every year during this period. But we will be back in October, bigger and better,” he promises. “Mumbai needs a resort like this and we will give it to them. We have big plans. I want H2O to put the city on the international water sports map and promote tourism in a big way.”
YP Singh, former IPS officer and advocate, points out that Shetty will require permission from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, the BMC and the collector’s office first. Despite him saying that the café is essential to the success of a water park, it’s unlikely that it will be allowed to reopen in the CRZ1 area. But the water sports park could be allowed.
Two movies soon
Shetty’s production company, Popcorn Entertainment, will also be back in six months, says the actor, with two films —
. “Business has been bad after the economic slowdown, but we all live in hope,” says the actor, who returns to theatres this Friday with
Red Alert—The War Within
, a film that earned him the Best Actor Award at a New York film festival.