A theme park featuring a 60-ft Eiffel Tower, a 20-ft Taj Mahal and replicas of five other wonders of the world built using 150 tonnes of industrial and other waste in south Delhi, was thrown open to the public on Friday.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had inaugurated the 'Waste to Wonder Park', spread over seven acres in Rajiv Gandhi Smriti Van near Sarai Kale Khan, on Thursday evening.
"The park was today thrown open to the public. On the first day itself, it is seeing a rush, as it is a unique recreational area, marrying recycling with aesthetics," a senior SDMC official said.
He said the park built at a cost of Rs 7.5 crore will operate from 11 AM to 11 PM.
The home minister had praised the initiative of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), saying the park "sets an example of 'waste-to-wealth' for other agencies", as scrap has been used to create the "wonders of the world".
The replicas are -- Taj Mahal (20 ft), the Great Pyramid of Giza (18 ft), Eiffel Tower (60 ft), Leaning Tower of Pisa (25 ft), Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer (25 ft), Rome's Colosseum (15 ft) and New York's Statute of Liberty (30 ft), SDMC officials said.
The seven replicas are installed in a landscaped park. Eiffel Tower, the veritable symbol of Paris and France, which is the tallest one among the replicas, and a Taj Mahal fashioned out of industrial and other waste, including used cycle chains, and motifs drawn on it using laser-cut technology, strikingly stand out.
A metallic Great Pyramid of Giza will also make visitors halt in their tracks in the park, completed in a period of "six months".
"We will maintain it ourselves for the first four months and then based on a response will think about outsourcing its maintenance," SDMC Commissioner P K Goel said.
"We are also considering if the space could be lent out for film shoots or pre-wedding shoots, which would also generate revenue," he said.
The park has been built by the the civic body as part of its initiative to process waste, under meaningful projects and add aesthetic value to the city.
"The seven replicas have been made with the scrap of automobile parts and other metal waste like fans, rods, iron sheets, nut-bolts, bicycle and bike parts, defunct sewer lines and age-old appliances gathering dust in 24 municipal stores," the official said.
SDMC Commissioner P K Goel said 150 tonne of scrap and waste has been used to create the "architectural wonders for the city".
He claimed this was the "world's first" such park where all the seven wonders have been replicated using waste products.
"In other wonders of the world parks, cement and mortar have been used, and their cost had been much higher," Goel said.
The replicas have been fabricated artistically and the park has been commissioned in the "shortest period of six months despite the expected time of completion being eight months" in view of the vast waste material available, the SDMC said.
"Even wash rooms have been made from obsolete shipping containers. Five artistes, seven supplementary artistes, and 70 welders worked on it to accomplish the most coveted project. It has been built over an area of seven acres," the senior official said.
There are plans to start a light and sound show to showcase the journey from waste-to-wonder, he said.
To avoid huge rush of visitors, it has been decided to charge an entry fee of Rs 50 for adults and Rs 25 for children in the age group of 3-12, it said.
However, children up to three years of age and senior citizens, 65 years and above, will not be charged any fee. School students from the municipal corporations, carrying identity cards, will also be allowed free entry, the official said.
"The place earlier used to house a nursery and Delhi Metro had taken it up during the construction work. After the DMRC returned the land, the project was planned on it," he added.Lt Governor Anil Baijal and BJP MP Maheish Girri were also present on the occasion.
Lt Governor Anil Baijal, who was present during the inauguration ceremony, had said, the SDMC must ensure that the park is maintained in future and suggested having a PPP model for it.
Goel said, Kota (Seven Wonders Park) and Pune (Seven Wonders Dream Park) also have such thematic parks, and the idea for the Delhi theme park was born thanks to Bollywood film 'Badrinath Ki Dulhania'.
"In the film, Kota's wonders of the world park has been featured. We saw the scene and it triggered an idea. So, we had then sent a team to Kota to examine it, so as to replicate it. And, here, we are, with our very own 'Waste to Wonder Park'," he said.