If beauty of the beasts is what sets your heart racing then here’s a call of nature that’ll be difficult for you to pass over. A plan for a zoological park on a sprawling land chunk between Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey colony in Goregaon has got a major boost with the state revenue department endorsing a proposal to allocate 200 acres to the forest department.
The plot, currently in possession of the animal husbandry department, will be tendered to the forest department for the project. The stretch was needed for development of certain key amenities required for the zoo, which a large number of people are expected to visit daily, once ready. The park is proposed to be developed on international standards, forest minister Dr Patangrao Kadam told MiD DAY.
Evolution of ideas
The forest department mooted the zoological park proposal in 2006 and got the CM’s approval in 2008, but then encountered a number of administrative hurdles and pending permissions from various departments. Approval from the animal husbandry and dairy development department came later. Now, the much-awaited final nod from the revenue department has arrived.
The zoo is expected to largely occupy parts of SGNP land, but since the national zoo authority does not allow commercial activities on forestland, profit-making enterprises will be carried out only on the plot acquired from Aarey colony. Since the area was not with the forest department and was categorised under no-development zone (NDZ), a go-ahead from the revenue department, which is the titleholder of the land, was crucial, said a government official.
Now, with the latest authorisation, the path has been cleared for the forest department to carry out necessary accretion there, the official added. The state government wants the zoo to come up as soon as possible and a committee of experts will devise a strategy for its functioning and upkeep, Kadam said. The government had allocated Rs 8 crore from its budget for the project. The forest department has also decided to develop another zoo at Gorewada in Nagpur on the lines of the one proposed in Mumbai, added the minister.