Delhi

Tourist attraction, revenue source: MCD’s theme parks 

Tourists strolling at the Waste to Wonder Park in Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi.

Tourists strolling at the Waste to Wonder Park in Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

An idea to utilise the municipality’s parks and the waste lying in its junkyards to create a public recreation space, has become a significant source of revenue for the cash-strapped MCD

Its first ‘Waste-to -Art’ park in the city came up in Sarai Kale Khan as the ‘Waste to Wonder Park’. The park was built at a cost of ₹7.5 crore and opened to the public in February 2019 before being shut due to COVID-19. Till June 12, this year, the park garnered revenue of ₹10.58 crore.

The civic body’s second such park — Bharat Darshan Park in west Delhi — is also gaining popularity among outstation tourists and city dwellers as a must-see spot. In its first week alone — from December 26 last year, when it was inaugurated, to January 2, this year, when it was shut briefly due to COVID-19 restrictions — the park generated ₹24.81 lakh in ticket sales.

As many as 6,307 visitors thronged the park on January 1 fetching the municipality ₹8.14 lakh in ticket sales. The park was built at a cost of ₹20 crore.

The third such theme park in ITO, whose foundation stone was laid by the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Vinai Kumar Saxena on Friday, is named ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ park and is being set up on the theme of freedom struggle.

Over 200 tonnes of scrap material — old vehicles, electricity poles and pipes — will be used in this park to create 10 replicas. The park is spread across 4.5 acres and will be built at a cost of ₹16.5 crore. It is set to be completed before the 74th Republic Day. 

Moreover, the civic body has planned to create two more such projects in north Delhi’s Karol Bagh and east Delhi’s Nirman Vihar.

The Waste to Wonder park near Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi.

The Waste to Wonder park near Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

“A part of the Ajmal Khan park in north Delhi will be converted into a ‘World Park’ that will feature 25 monuments from across the world. In east Delhi, a ‘Celebration Park’ is being planned based on the theme of festivals from across the world,” a senior MCD official said.

“The first Waste-to-Art project at Sarai Kale Khan did come as a slight surprise in terms of the public response. We were able to recover the entire cost of the project within the first year itself. With the Bharat Darshan Park also doing well, the larger plan is also to make more projects because this formula is capable of generating more revenue for the civic body, which is crucial given the current financial condition,” said another MCD official.

The two existing parks, which house replicas of the popular national and international monuments — Leaning Tower of Pisa, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial Hall and Mysore Palace, among others — attract a combined average footfall of 2,000 people per day.

Explaining how such parks are created, a person who has worked on the replicas installed at the previous projects said that a lot of resources and time is invested in cleaning the scrap, apart from creating the civil, horticulture and electrical infrastructure.

“The maintenance and operating costs for these projects are very minimal. But the initial process of converting the scrap material into something useful is tedious, especially in the case of automobile parts which require plenty of manpower and time to handle,” a senior MCD official said.

MCD has managed to turn these ‘Waste-to-Art’ parks into profitable ventures despite keeping the ticket prices low.

A ticket at these parks costs ₹50 for the age group of 12 to 65 years. For children between the age of three to 12 years, the price is ₹25, and for those below the age of three and above the age of 65, the tickets are free.


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2022 10:50:10 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/tourist-attraction-revenue-source-mcds-theme-parks/article65700448.ece