Mysuru: The Aquarium near the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popular as Mysuru Zoo, half-built by the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) will be handed over to the Zoo for refurbishing and maintenance. The aquarium structure, built at a cost of Rs. 3 crore, is lying in a state of neglect now and has become a place for illegal activities.
Tourism and Sericulture Minister S.R. Mahesh, who holds the in-charge of Boards and Corporations including Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK), Tourism Board, Jungle Lodges & Resorts and Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation, has directed the MCC to hand over the aquarium to the Zoo. The aquarium has been built in an area of 6,000 square feet.
During a visit to the Zoo this morning, ZAK Member Secretary B.P. Ravi and In-charge Zoo Executive Director Siddaramappa Chalakapure told the Minister that the aquarium was lying in a state of neglect and if it is handed over to the Zoo, they would maintain it well and make it another tourist attraction.
They told the Minister that while MCC was ready to hand over the aquarium, it was demanding a 50 percent share in the profits.
Former Mayors R. Lingappa and M.J. Ravikumar told the Minister that a resolution was passed by the MCC Council long back to hand over the aquarium to the Zoo but the Zoo was not ready to part with 50 percent of the profits as demanded by the MCC.
Inspecting the aquarium premises, the Minister was disappointed to see empty beer bottles and plastic waste. He asked Additional Deputy Commissioner T. Yogesh and MCC Commissioner K.H. Jagadeesha to speed up the process of handing over the aquarium. Meanwhile, B.P. Ravi told the Minister that it would take Rs. 25 to 28 crore to finish the aquarium works and the Zoo will have to obtain loans to finish the works. Minister Mahesh asked Ravi to make an agreement with the MCC that 50 percent of the profits generated by the aquarium once completed will be shared with MCC after the loan amount is cleared. Both the MCC and Zoo authorities agreed to this proposal and told the Minister that the process will be completed within one or two days.
Ravi told Star of Mysore that the aquarium will be turned around to make it a new tourist attraction. “Glasses will be laid and exotic fish species will be purchased and beautiful lightings will be installed. “We will make the place demo-worthy within six months and complete the entire project within two years. Once completed, the aquarium will draw tourists in droves,” he said.
Apart from refurbishing the aquarium, the area surrounding the aquarium will be landscaped to make it more attractive. The road between Karanji Lake and the Zoo will be beautified so that it will attract more tourists, he added.
While on his inspection of the aquarium, the Minister directed the Zoo authorities to take steps to reduce the prices of food offered at the Zoo canteen. Mahesh said that more than the rich, poor people visit the Zoo and the food prices were exorbitant.