Nine years on, Haryana’s only aquarium in Gurugram still has no fish
Built at a cost of Rs 1 crore, Gurugram’s much-hyped aquarium house is fitted with 15 air conditioners and has 32 aquariums of different sizes. However, there is not a single fish in any of the tanks.gurgaon Updated: Jun 02, 2018 09:07 IST
The Millennium City’s much-hyped aquarium house has everything but fish and water.
Built between 2006 and 2009 at the cost of Rs 1 crore, the aquarium house was set up jointly by the state fisheries department and Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda). The facility is fitted with 15 air conditioners and has 32 aquariums of different sizes.
The basement is cleaned everyday by the staff, but the glass tanks are lying vacant. A little less than Rs 20 lakh have been sanctioned to run the project, which is nowhere close to being open to the public.
“The plan was to build a mini oceanarium where visitors can see marine life through a glass tunnel,” said a Huda official, who requested anonymity. “It would have been first of it’s kind in the state, but senior officials did not take an interest even after spending a hefty amount on its construction,” the official added.
The website for the fisheries department mentions the aquarium project in a page devoted to “ornamental fisheries”.
It says, “... these fishes are swift, gentle and simple. Some of the common aquarium fishes suitable for Haryana are gold fishes of all varieties, angelfish, fighter fish, gourami of all varieties, guppy, platy, molly, tangerine, barbas, swordtail, etc.”
According to the website, the “big Aquarium house in collaboration with HUDA” is still under construction.
There should also be a small laboratory on the premises, which would check water quality, but that is yet to be constructed. Aquariums in nearby states, such as Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, have the advantage of natural ponds for their water supply.
Water to the aquarium in Gurugram would have to be supplied from outside — the state is still working out where it will get the salt water needed for the fishes.
Director of Haryana’s fisheries department, Sanjay Singh, said the project has failed to take off because it is “pending at the government level”. According to Singh, the project may be handed over to a private company.
“We are planning to give the lease to a private company as it requires a lot of maintenance and we are not able to take care (of it). The plan was big and we planned to keep all kinds of beautiful fishes, but the project kept getting delayed and finally we are taking our hands off it. This will be given on lease as soon as possible. It’s not easy to maintain an aquarium, that too such a huge one. We have no team and hardly people to manage a new project,” he said.
Officials from the fisheries department said an appropriate public-private partnership (PPP) model may be framed after studying the experience of other successful operators in the country. “We are planning to float a global tender to run the aquarium in the PPP model,” said Haryana’s agriculture and fisheries minister OP Dhankhar.