Corporation Commissioner seeks extension of deadline

As the license for the Coimbatore Corporation zoo expires on July 31, the civic body, it appears, is clueless about how to proceed on the matter. The latest from the civic body is that Commissioner, G. Latha, has written to the Central Zoo Authority seeking an extension.

In her letter dated April 26, 2013 to B.S. Bonal, Member Secretary, Central Zoo Authority, Ms. Latha has said that the Corporation’s efforts to find a new land for the zoo have not yielded the desired results because the civic body was not able to identify a suitable land within the city limits.

But, in the recent past the Corporation had identified 25 acres near the existing zoo premises. The Corporation Council has also passed a resolution seeking the 25 acres from the State Government.

Resolution 16 was passed on April 25, a day before she wrote to the Member Secretary, CZA.

Once the State Government grants the 25 acres, the Corporation has to plan, budget, develop a master plan for the new zoo, send the same for approval to the CZA, construct a zoo, and thereafter shift the animals. The operations would take about two years. If the CZA were to grant a two-year extension of recognition, the Corporation would be able to find new premises for the zoo, the Commissioner has said.

The CZA is yet to respond.

Ms. Latha's letter comes after her predecessor T.K. Ponnusamy’s letter to the CZA in September last year.

He had said that the Corporation had identified 20 acres that was initially earmarked for the Semmozhi Poonga.

It had sent a proposal to the Government in September 2012 in this regard and awaited a reply.

After the Government sent a reply, it would take the Corporation another six months to take possession of the land and only thereafter it would be able to send an utilisation certificate to the Central Zoo Authority.

Mr. Ponnusamy had written the letter after the CZA asked the civic body to account for the Rs. 80,000 it had given for preparing a plan for the land it had earlier identified in Ettimadai.

The Corporation had a couple of years ago identified 68 acres in Ettimadai for shifting the zoo.

The technical committee of the CZA had approved of the land after conducting soil test and studying other parameters and given a conditional approval for extension of the license of the zoo by two years.

This extension period will expire in July 31.

The conditions the CZA imposed included preparation of a plan and approval of the same by July 31.

But the Corporation decided that locating the zoo in Ettimadai would serve no purpose and gave up the proposal altogether.

Thereafter it decided that it would locate the zoo in the portion of the land that it would get from the State Government. The land identified is part of the Coimbatore Central Prison complex.

Sources said that even if the Corporation were to get the land from the State Government, it would have to obtain the CZA’s technical committee’s clearance before establishing the zoo. But that may not be possible before the deadline.

Left with very limited time there was every possible that the license could expire.

And if that were to happen, the Corporation would be forced to close down the zoo, which has 484 birds, 229 mammals and 77 reptiles in 4.5 acres. The zoo gets around 12 lakh visitors a year.

This is the only zoo in the south that is maintained by a local body.

Senior Corporation were unavailable for comment.

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