“If rain gods please, then the boat ride can be smooth,”

The launch of the pleasure boat ride for the public at the Madurai Corporation’s Eco Park was a wash out, with the boats remaining tethered to the pillars.

Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa and Commissioner R. Nanthagopal had launched the facility amidst much fanfare.

Corporation officials told The Hindu on Tuesday that the water level had dropped because of evaporation.

The commissioner shrugged at the heavens. "If rain gods please, then the boat ride can be smooth," said Mr. Nanthagopal.

In the last few days, six lakh litres of water were dumped into the pond, an equivalent of 100 tanker loads (each load is 6,000 litres) for the purpose of introducing the boat ride. However, that didn’t help.

A. Mathuram, City Engineer in-charge, blamed it on water shortage. "Instructions were given to get at least 50 lorry loads immediately. Ten lakh litres are required," he pointed out.

K. Devadas, market superintendent, Madurai Corporation, who was involved in the water-filling exercise, said that the pond was approximately 60X50 ft and repair works were carried out in earnest to ensure a successful re-launch of the boat ride at the Eco Park, which was suspended over a year ago.

According to the Commissioner, the ticket is priced at Rs.20 for adults and Rs.15 for children for a 15-minute boat ride.

Arrangements have been made to provide five tanker loads of water every day to refill the water body. The boat ride will take place from 5.p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Mayor said that Rs.2.65 lakh was spent to repair the pond. He said two more boats will join the existing fleet.

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