IN A denial that could land it in hot water, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) has disavowed any intentions of executing PWD Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya’s proposal to start boating facilities at Navlakha lake.
Responding to a question raised in the Assembly, the Corporation has claimed that it was only carrying out dredging and cleaning activities and that there was no plan to start boating operations at the site.
The assertion has left IMC-watchers dumbfounded. Especially as Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma as well as Mayor-in-Council (MiC) health in charge Rajendra Rathore have publicly voiced the Corporation’s intention to develop the nullah on the Khan River as a boating site on several occasions.
In fact, both officials and elected representatives, with the understandable exception of Mayor Uma Shashi Sharma, worked overtime to bring the proposal to fruition ever since Vijayvargiya unveiled his grand design on May 21.
On that day Vijayvargiya, during a tour of the area, announced that boats would be plied on the Navlakha nullah. He even went so far as to declare that the boating facilities would begin by June 15.
Although the Minister’s announcement was treated with skepticism the IMC as well as IDA, PWD and the irrigation department immediately swung into action to meet the deadline. Three Forkland machines, two JCBs and 15 dumpers were pressed into service to clean and deepen the stretch of Navlakha nullah from the City zoo to Parsi Mohalla and nearly 5,000 trucks of mud were excavated from the nullah in less than a week.
The entire nullah cleaning operation was supervised personally by MiC member Rajendra Rathore. His efforts, however, were frustrated by the delayed monsoon.
With the nullah still dry come June 15, the IMC was forced to extend the deadline. Meanwhile, during a ministerial tour to review progress of the boating scheme on June 6, Vijayvargiya, expanding on the original boating concept and declared that the entire area around Navlakha nullah would be developed as a tourist site.
The Minister, accompanied by Collector Vivek Aggarwal, SP Adarsh Katiyar, IDA CEO C B Singh and Municipal Commissioner Vinod
Sharma declared that this would be done by developing green belts along both sides of the river. Furthermore, a subway would be built under the Navlakha culvert to allow unhindered passage to those wishing to visit the Balaji Hanuman temple.
Slightly over a month later, the IDA Board of Directors gives the nod to a proposal for purchasing equipment worth Rs 3.36 crore, including fibre-glass boats costing Rs 80 lakh, for starting boating operations at Navlakha.