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Is the ban on water parks real?

By Elisa Patnaik

AHMEDABAD: CONFUSION continues to prevail over the state government's decision to shut down all water parks on account of water scarcity in Gujarat. While those water parks which were asked to shut down are still running the show, certain others, including those in the areas hit by water scarcity, have not been intimated about the decision, in the first place.

The government on April 23, had decided to close down the water parks in the state due to the water scarcity situation and on April 25, certain water parks were served notices by the district collectorates, as directed. However, the water parks continued to remain open after acquiring a stay orders from the court. On April 26, Chief Minister, Keshubhai Patel revoked the decision of closing down the numerous water parks in the state, to confine it to only those situated in the drought affected areas. However, water parks situated in and around Rajkot, one of the worst affected areas, are yet to receive the shut down orders and are still running.

"So far, we have not received any formal notification from the authorities and our park is open to public," said Menand Maldhari of Fairyland Garden Water Park, located on the Jamnagar Highway. "But, if given notice, we would strongly oppose the government's decision and protest against it."

Those water parks which do not come under the drought affected areas and had been directed to shut down, have not received any formal notification to re-open till now.

According to the water supply minister Narottam Patel, "Our department had earlier decided to close down all water parks in the state, but the CM later announced that only those water parks which are situated in the drought affected areas, will be closed." Ironically, most of the popular water parks are believed to have been located in areas "which are not hit by the drought."

The decision to shut down the water parks has irked the amusement and water park owners who have termed it as "illegal and arbitrary," but when contacted, most of the owners said that they were still operating their water parks.

Stating that the decision as 'unfair' Mahesh Modi, director of Shanku Water Park, located in the Ahmedabad-Mehsana Highway said, "We had got the notice, but since the park is not located in a drought affected area, we got a stay order from the court and our park is open. There is no water shortage in the nearby areas." He added that no further notice to re-open the parks have been received by the park.

CMD of Water City, located in the Kheda-Gandhinagar Highway, Daxesh Shah said that though his water park had not been given the notice and was still running, the decision was "unjust, since it would adversely affect those employed in such parks."

According to the Gujarat Amusement and Water Park Owners Association, water used in these parks is from the owners' sources and is generally recycled, so there is no water wastage. "Moreover, we have also proposed to the concerned authorities that we are prepared to supply water to the neighbouring drought affected areas, if there are any," the members of the association claim.

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