Coimbatore

Zoo modernisation still a far cry

The Corporation has proposed expanding the zoo by annexing portions of the nearby VOC Park in the city.

The Corporation has proposed expanding the zoo by annexing portions of the nearby VOC Park in the city.   | Photo Credit: M_Periasamy

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Coimbatore Corporation’s proposal submitted to State Govt. yet to get administrative sanction

The Coimbatore Corporation officials flew down to New Delhi a couple of weeks ago after being summoned by the Central Zoo Authority. The Authority, which is yet to renew the Corporation’s license to run the zoo, wanted to know why the civic body had not implemented any of its recommendation for improvement.

The Corporation officials explained that the civic body had been taking steps to develop the zoo and substantiated its claim by pointing out how it had handed over a few domesticated and feral birds and animals to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department and it planned to develop the zoo at ₹20 crore with Central Government’s fund under the Smart Cities Mission, the Corporation sources said.

The Corporation officials also pointed to the Authority that the civic body had sent its action plan around six months ago and the latter was yet to approve of the same.

After hearing the explanations, the sources said, the Authority asked the Corporation to do more like stopping the operation of the toy train and converting it into a battery-operated vehicle and start implementing the development project it proposed to take up and at the earliest at that.

But that was easier said than done because the State Government was yet to approve of the plan the Corporation had submitted a couple of months ago. The Corporation sources familiar with the development said after the Corporation submitted a proposal to the office of the Commissioner for Municipal Administration, it sent back the proposal with a few queries. After addressing the queries, the Corporation once again submitted the proposal a couple of months ago, for which it was yet to get administrative sanction.

The officials in the Coimbatore Smart City Limited said the proposal was to prepare a detailed project report with the help of a consultant for developing the zoo at ₹20 crore and hand over the operation and maintenance to a contractor who would successfully bid the tender.

The sources said the detailed project report would reflect the recommendations of the Authority because if it did not, the latter would not grant approval for running the zoo. The Corporation had proposed expanding the zoo by annexing portions of the nearby VOC Park and providing more spacious enclosures for the animals.

For, the problem at present was that though the number of animals and the foot fall matched that of a medium-sized zoo, the space available and the local fit only the mini zoo definition. The Authority had categorised zoos into large, medium, small and mini based on area, number of visitors, number of species, number of endangered species, number of animals of endangered species.

The zoo at present is spread over 4.15 acre, has 542 animals and sees around 600 visitors a day on weekdays and over 2,000 on weekends.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 11:09:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/zoo-modernisation-still-a-far-cry/article24250497.ece

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