| A deserted Chandragupta Jal Vihar on Moin-ul-Haq stadium premises on Sunday.
Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Chandragupta Jal Vihar, a public swimming pool, is closed for a month-and-a-half because of a standoff between the art, culture and youth affairs department and the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation.
The pool run by the tourism corporation for the past six years closed on August 8 because the process of handing over the facility to Bihar State Sports Authority under the art, culture and youth affairs department began. The facility is at the south-west corner of Moin-ul-Haq Stadium.
A.K. Seth, the director-general of Bihar State Sports Authority, said the takeover process was on. “We would take over the pool according to the department’s directions. A committee would be formed to look after it. Only the department can tell the reason behind this,” Seth said.
Angry over poolside marriage and birthday parties, sources said, the department initiated the handover process.
Officials declined to comment on the issue. Several attempts to contact the art, culture and youth affairs minister, Sukhda Pandey, proved futile.
A tourism corporation official, preferring anonymity, said: “The pool is closed since August 8 after the department decided to take it over. The power connection has been snapped. The pool had around 75 members and charges were nominal. We are refunding the money due to the members.”
The tourism corporation was allotted the land at the stadium for the pool on lease with an agreement that 15 per cent of the profit would go to the art, culture and youth affairs department. The sources said the pool operated well because the charges were nominal for facilities like the 25x12m swimming pool (half of an Olympic size pool), a kids’ pool, sauna, jacuzzi, locker rooms and changing rooms for men and women.
“The monthly fee for students was Rs 1,500, for couples it was Rs 2,800. For single adult, the charge was Rs 2,000 and for a four-member family it was Rs 4,000. The April-October package cost a family Rs 11,000, a couple Rs 10,000, a single youngster Rs 4,750 and a single adult Rs 6,500,” said a member of the pool.
Though economical for people, the art, culture and youth affairs department was cut up with the tourism corporation for renting the pool out for parties. Sources in the department alleged that the corporation was not looking after it properly.
“They were just holding marriage parties and not taking care of the pool. The sports authority will take care of it and build an Olympic size pool for sportsmen,” a department official said.
The department official’s remark put a poser on the public access to the economical facility. The charges at similar swimming pools at clubs or hotels are steeper.
The pool at hotel Maurya is open for the public. “A single adult has to pay Rs 4,400 plus 25 per cent tax a month,” a hotel representative told The Telegraph.