The Congress government in Rajasthan is considering formulating a policy on manufactured sand (M-sand) as a substitute of ‘bajri’ (riverbed sand) used for construction of buildings, in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on mining of the latter in the State. The State government has issued a limited number of mining leases for ‘bajri’ at private land.The riverbed sand, which is mixed with cement for construction, has not been legally available in the State since November 2017, when the Supreme Court imposed a ban on its mining. The non-availability of sand has had an adverse impact on the construction of houses and stalled several government and private projects, besides leading to illegal mining.Though the halt to construction activities rendered a large number of workers and labourers unemployed, the Supreme Court later came down heavily on the State government for sanctioning leases for sand mining without environmental clearances, while staying as many as 82 such licences.The complete ban on riverbed sand mining came following the failure of the previous BJP regime and miners to get environmental clearances on time. The apex court had in May this year also stayed the auction of sand mining blocks for which Letters of Intent (LoIs) were issued without getting clearance from the Environment Ministry.Mines Minister Pramod Bhaya said in the State Assembly on Tuesday that 97 mining leases for ‘bajri’ were at present operative in the State, while 216 LoIs had been issued since January 8 this year. “We will appoint a senior lawyer for representing the State government in the cases pending in the apex court and try for their early disposal,” he said.Mr. Bhaya said the State government was issuing mining leases to the owners of private land measuring between 1 hectare and 4 hectares, while short-term licence could be issued to the contractors of government projects for land measuring up to 1 hectare. After a Supreme Court judgment of 2012, such a lease could be sanctioned only after obtaining environmental clearance, he added.Congress chargeThe Congress had earlier accused the previous BJP government of being “hand in glove with the sand mafia”, which was even taken note of by the Supreme Court. The ruling party said the BJP regime’s negligence had resulted in unemployment of 25 lakh people, including construction labourers, ‘bajri’ truck drivers, truck owners, contractors and skilled workers trained in the construction sector.
As Delhi gears up to be a world city, high-octane fun and frolic is part of the game. With giant amusement parks springing up in every corner, the city is well on course to becoming the country’s fantasy capital. So grit your teeth, close your eyes and hold on to,As Delhi gears up to be a world city, high-octane fun and frolic is part of the game. With giant amusement parks springing up in every corner, the city is well on course to becoming the country’s fantasy capital. So grit your teeth, close your eyes and hold on to your seat belts. SIMPLY DELHI takes you on the ride of your lifetime.The side winder and flip flop are the most popular rides at Adventure IslandAdventure island -The next time you’re in the mood for some adventure and fun, you needn’t fly all the way to Disneyland. Just hop on to the metro and head straight to Rohini to find a desi avatar of the larger than life theme park. Adventure Island is the new hotspot for everyone from six to 60. Spread over 62 acres, this venture by Unitech and International Amusement Ltd (UAPL), the promoters behind Appu Ghar, has been designed by a Toronto-based architect. The park boasts of 20 dizzying rides and water sports, (one is yet to open) and a retail area called Metro Walk. But the biggest draw is the bumper boats, which replicate, on a lake, the experience of bumper cars. Among other favourites are the side winder and flip flop rides, which have come to India for the first time. While the first is an improved version of the giant boat and rotates 360 degrees with every swing, the flip flop takes five 360 degree rotations before zooming down. Says Monny Vijeshwar, managing director, UAPL: “The number of visitors has been increasing with every passing week.”advertisementNoida e city- This is the latest of them all. And the largest too. The USP of the Rs 1,200-crore Noida Entertainment City (all set to open this August) lies in its rides, besides it being a one-stop family recreation destination, complete with a five-star hotel and a 150-store retail arcade. The 30 rides at the 150-acre park are products of the same makers of the rides at Disneyland, Universal Studios and Six Flags. They include such treats as the looping roller coaster, free fall and bungee trampoline. Called the Worlds of Wonder, the play area is alongside the shopping mall, The Great India Place. Rubal Chaudhry, vicepresident (Operations), International Recreation Parks Pvt Ltd, which runs the park, says the positioning is deliberate as it is a family destination. The place is split into three zones, two for children and teenagers and the third for the whole family. The Teen Zone, for instance, is all about music. There’s a concert-like ambience within, featuring large stages, hi-tech lighting and stateof-the-art equipment. The Family Zone, on the other hand, hosts global fests. A visit to Noida E City is not complete without a dip at Calypso Bay. The 14-acre water park has much to offer, including thrilling water slides, a man-made river and a wave pool that creates waves over 1.5 m high, large enough for water surfing.Amoeba Simulator games are the highlight at AmoebaAmoeba is a digital paradise that has everyone from toddlers and teenagers to mamas and papas furiously keying into the addictive consoles before them. While some sit on the edge of their seats steering through grand prix tracks, others are busy fighting enemy planes. Promoted by HM Leisures, Amoeba in Gurgaon’s Metropolitan Mall is the last word in digital gaming. The highlight is its thrilling simulator games. In another pocket, a bowling alley beckons, offering a calmer option for strained nerves. Unwind as the pins go down, says the new corporate mantra, which draws hordes of office-goers seeking a release after a hard day’s work. If the four-lane alley is full, which is invariably the case, there’s always a session of air hockey to keep you busy. Among the other attractions at Amoeba are its birthday bashes which take care of everything from the invites and games to the catering and return gifts. Then there are the redeemable coupons which ensure you walk away with gift coupon for every game that you play.Oysters, appu gharIt is all about a fun splash at Appu GharTwenty three years on, Appu Ghar is still a kid at heart. The first amusement park in the country, everyone has something special to recall from here, whether it is the cherubic mascot or one of its many thrilling rides. Delhi’s all-time favourite, this amusement park, which was set up by Unitech and International Amusement Ltd (IAL), has been getting better and better over the years. And Oysters, the water park which was launched in 1998, remains the coolest hangout in town to date. With ice games in winter and dance festivals through the year, Oysters is a big hit amongst youngsters who want to let their hair down. The highlight of Oysters is the Magic River and the small overbridges. The river has jacuzzis in places which break the lazy current that carries visitors from point to point. “It’s been 20 years since I have been coming to Appu Ghar and it always feels like the first time. As a kid, the twister and rollercoaster was my favourite but my children love Oysters and the thrilling water games it has to offer today,” says Ashmita Sen, 32.advertisementFuture bowlThe bowling alley at Essex FarmsEssex farms Bowling, a game of pool, some racing, air hockey and a bumper cars, it’s fun unlimited at Future Bowl, the gaming alley at Essex farms. With summer happy hours offering gaming all day long for just Rs 150, parents can join in the fun with junior. Essex boasts of one of the largest bowling alleys in the city, which allows more people to join in at one time. Says the father of six-year-old Rishab Khanna, “This is the best place you can bring your children to. With so much to do, there’s not a minute of boredom, and I love to play a game or two of bowling myself.” A great place to hang out if you love bowling, gaming, yummy food and just want to chill.Fun & food villageThe fun slide at Fun & Food VillageFun and food. While the two go hand in hand, there’s so much on offer at the manicured greens of this theme park that food is the last thing that comes to mind when you here. A through and through desi affair, the village developed by Polo Amusement, is part of the lush green belt of Gurgaon and serves as a perfect getaway. It plays host to a number of artisans and craftsmen who showcase their ware on the premises. Open-air theatres and animal parades add to the ambience with a monorail connecting visitors to the various hotspots. Of the 21 amusement rides in the park, the flying carpet is a huge hit. It’s similar to the flying saucer that flies high up in the air and makes you feel like you’re from outer space. A must-visit at the village is its water park: the Village Club. The club not only boasts of the longest water slide in the country with a 400-ft channel but also a high-velocity aqua shoot and super slide, said to be the world’s first slides to employ aerodynamics. There’s also the fun slide with its ‘awesome’ twists and turns and a wave pool which gives you a feel of swimming in the seas. Other features include a health club, a beauty parlour and four food and beverage outlets, all of them reflecting the Indian theme itself.32nd milestoneGo karting at 32nd MilestoneIf you haven’t crossed this milestone, your chill quotient is lagging way behind. With everything from bungee jumping, bull riding and go-karting to bowling, disco-dancing and speciality restaurants, 32nd Milestone is just the place to party in. “I’ve been coming here for more than five years,” says Siddarth Khanna from Delhi. “Karting and bowling here with friends is a great experience and the discotheque rocks.” The fireball at 32nd milestone had in fact earned the distinction of being the world’s longest party way back in November 1999. While karting along the club’s well-laid out tracks is not surprisingly popular, the bull ride is something you shouldn’t miss. This remote operated bull jumps, spins and rotates in all directions. Then there is bungee jumping, trampling and loads of video games too to keep the children entertained. These attractions apart, it is the specialty restaurants that take the cake here. There’s the Caf Road House, the Caravan Serai that serves Indian and Mughlai cuisine, the House of Bamboo which is a Chinese joint and a juicy Sizzler corner, each having an identity all its own. The place also has a 3 Star accommodation facility with amenities like a beauty parlour abd banquet halls. Need one ask for more?advertisement