Ocean World, an ambitious aquarium-cum-food court slated to come up in the city, seems to be a distant reality now as there are no signs of starting the project in the near future. The project, envisaged as a first-of its-kind third-generation project on public private partnership (PPP) basis in 2012, was awarded to a company at rs 30 crore and it was to conclude within two years.
Initially, the Municipal Corporation Jalandhar had announced that the construction work for building the Ocean World will start in a week, which never happened. The delay has largely been attributed to the civic body which failed to acquire the requisite clearances for the project. The MC authorities, however, claim that all clearances had been acquired from the local bodies department by May 1 this year and the company concerned has been given the green signal for starting the project. Kulvinder Singh, additional commissioner (technical), building and roads department, said, “We have asked the company to start the project and have informed them about the approvals attained, but are yet to get any reply from their side.”
K Kandhari of Darashaw and Company, the consulting and planning agency for the project, said the firm and the contractor are based out of India. "The MCJ had written a letter around 15 days back to the construction company to start the construction, but it has still to receive a reply from the contractors. The contractors are based out of India and the Christmas season has started there, hence we are expecting that they will reply as soon as the holidays are over,” he said. Sources in the MCJ said the project might never see the light of day as the company which was to execute the project has lost interest in it because of the delay.
“We have written to the company again few days back and have asked them to file an answer about the future course of action within two weeks and waiting for their reply. We will take a decision once they fail to reply within the deadline,” said Kulvinder Singh.
For running the aquarium the company was to pay Rs 11 lakh per annum to the municipal corporation with a yearly increment of 10% for 47 years designated as the concession period. The company had agreed to the terms and conditions laid down by the municipal corporation but as the final nod for starting the project came after a long time the company backed out with the construction cost going drastically high in the past two years, sources said.