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Night safari project at centre near Vandalur zoo deferred

P.Oppili
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Funds were not received over the last two years, according to official

A substantial portion of the work on creating a circular road for the night safari project has been completed. — File photo
A substantial portion of the work on creating a circular road for the night safari project has been completed. — File photo

The night safari project, proposed inside the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre near the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, has been deferred by the State Government. A communication to this effect was sent to the zoo authorities during the last week of July.

Wildlife officials said right from the time when the project was launched in 2007, they had encountered problems with regard to release of funds.

A senior wildlife officer said objections were raised by Finance Department soon after the works began inside the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. When the zoo authorities asked for release of funds to take up the work, the amount was not allocated and released in 2009-10 and 2010-11, the officer said.

With the initially allocated sum, the zoo authorities completed construction of enclosures for tiger, elephant, Indian bison, sloth bear, spotted deer and sambar.

Apart from that they also raised a large number of saplings to be planted around the night safari area. Nearly Rs 7.87 crore was spent on construction of the enclosures, surveying the lands, perimeter wall and laying circular roads for the night safari, the officer said.

On the road work, another officer said that the roads were created and works of laying wet mix concrete have been completed. The remaining work is to cover the top with bitumen after which the roads would be ready, he said.

Fund constraint was one of the important reasons for slow progress of the night safari work and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests did not release funds as agreed by it earlier, the officer said. The Central Zoo Authority of India also refused to provide funds, which affected the progress of works, the officer said.

With the State Government not having evinced much interest, the zoo authorities prepared yet another proposal for Rs.82 crore for night safari last month. However, the State Government did not accept the proposal and rejected that too, wildlife sources said.

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