Surat: Walk with sharks & dolphins

SURAT: The thrill of navigating through a see-through tunnel on a travelator with sharks, dolphins and other fish hovering over you will be a reality for Surtis and people of Gujarat, most of whom have seen this sight in places like Singapore.

A marine tunnel aquarium is what Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has planned and with all ground work having been done for the first of its kind in the country, the tunnel is likely to come up here in 18 to 24 months time. “We are looking at the possibility of a 66 or 100 metre long snake shaped tunnel,” said Mukesh Dalal, chairman, SMC standing committee.

“Central Marine Fish Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi, has been appointed as consultant for the project and they have submitted the draft bids to SMC,” he added.

“All presentations are ready as conceptual permission is obtained from competent authority but the allotment of the fund would be done in the coming year’s budget,” said mayor Ranjit Gilitwala.

Estimated cost of the project is Rs 15 crore and could go up if SMC opts for a longer tunnel, said DC Gandhi, in-charge engineer and garden cell project chief of SMC.

SMC already has 25,722 sq mt space at Jagdishchandra Bose Udyan in Adajan where first phase of the proposed aquarium project is coming up. To be made up of imported acrylic sheets, the tunnel would be 4 metre broad.

“Bids for this would be invited from abroad as no one does this in India. Also the size of the tunnel is yet to be decided and would depend on the cost factor and geographical conditions,” said Dalal. “We saw such an aquarium in Singapore and were inspired by it,” said Gilitwala.

In the first phase, a shark pool will be constructed. It will be about 18 to 20 feet high, 40 feet long and 30 feet wide, said S Aparna, municipal commissioner.

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