If you are planning a joy-ride on water scooters at Muttukadu Boat House or Mudaliarkuppam Raindrop Boat House, you may be in for a disappointment.
Most of the scooters are lying idle awaiting repairs due to lack of spare parts.
On Saturday, a group of school children from Medavakkam had to endure such an experience. Having travelled a long distance from the city, they had no other option, but to use the services of large boats, row or pedal boats.
A similar situation has been prevailing for the past week, said sources.
Expressing their dismay over the non-availability of water scooters, some of the students said,
“The experience of riding a water scooter affords a unique thrill. All of us were keen on the adrenaline rush of such a high-speed ride. What is the point of travelling in slow-moving boats?” they asked. Owned and operated by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), Muttukadu Boat House is located 30 km from the city and Mudaliarkuppam boat house is about 100 km.
Water scooters were introduced during 2008 and 2009 on an experimental basis and turned out to be a star attraction among the youths and adventure-lovers, even during off-season. It also earned good revenue for the boat houses.
“In the last four to five years, we have earned more than what we have invested. As water scooters are available only in this part of the East Coast Road, visitors started to pour in large numbers during holidays and weekends,” said an official.
Sources said that this situation would not have arisen if the vehicles were put on annual maintenance contract. “It does not cost much. But, the department officials were trying to kill the golden goose. They have spent several lakh of rupees for repairs, but the water scooters are not moving,” the sources said.
A TTDC official said they have placed orders for the new scooters and they should arrive by mid-April when tourists can use them during the summer holidays.
“Earlier, these water scooters were available for Rs.5 lakh; now they are cost more than Rs.8 lakh. As the purchase was taking time to come through, we thought of repairing the existing ones, but some parts are not available and hence it is not available for the visitors,” he said.