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Thiruvananthapuram zoo yet to finalise master plan

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All is not well: The delay in putting together a master plan has affected the release of funds for the city zoo from the Central Zoo authority.
All is not well: The delay in putting together a master plan has affected the release of funds for the city zoo from the Central Zoo authority.

G. Mahadevan

Plan to be submitted to Central Zoo Authority for nod by March 31

Authorities seek a four-month extension

Delay in submitting plan may lead to loss of recognition

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram zoo is in danger of losing its recognition as it is yet to prepare its 20-year master plan which it has to submit to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) by March 31.

The inability of the zoo to put together such a plan has held up the much-needed funds from the CZA and has inordinately delayed the transfer of new species of animals to the facility. In sheer desperation zoo director P. Vijayakumariamma has written to the CZA requesting a four-month extension of the deadline to submit the master plan. It is not clear whether the CZA will agree to the request.

“I agree that there has been a delay in the preparation of the master plan. Now, the government order for instituting a committee to draw up the master plan is almost ready. We will make all attempts to submit the plan in the shortest time possible. A lot of preparatory work has to be done before the master plan is drawn up. We will never be able to complete it by March 31,” she said here on Tuesday.

Sources in the zoo told The Hindu that the zoo authorities dragged their feet on the preparation of the master plan despite repeated reminders from the CZA officials. It was this that led to the delay in the government order for setting up the master plan committee. “The master plan file kept shuttling from one table to another in the zoo office,” an official said.

Only after submitting the master plan will the zoo get the funds for executing construction work, enclosure-modification work and other modernisation-related work. The zoo urgently needs to modify and expand its tiger enclosure and has plans to set up an insect-house, an enclosure for butterflies and another for nocturnal animals. The construction of the enclosure for otters is yet to be completed.

Plans to bring over a pair of zebra, a female giraffe and a pair of Eland from South Africa, a pair of white tiger from the Delhi zoo and many varieties of exotic birds from a circus company have also been delayed due to the absence of a master plan.

All necessary paperwork relating to the transfer of these animals has been completed; the only remaining thing is an ‘okay’ from the CZA.

According to zoo officials, the speed with which the master plan gets drawn up and whether the CZA grants the extension sought by the zoo director depends on the level of interest that the Department of Culture has on the matter.

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