Byculla Zoo renovation faces hurdle over building of public restrooms

Byculla zoo aka Ranichi Baug revamp faces delay as heritage committee has raised objections to its plans regarding new public amenities to be built on the premises

Already running out of time, the famous Byculla Zoo’s renovation could now fall further behind schedule with the Heritage Conservation Committee having raised objections to its plans regarding new public amenities to be built in the zoo premises. The committee has suggested alterations in the plans for upcoming toilets, food stalls, etc.

The Rs 150-crore renovation of Byculla zoo will also include 21 new enclosures for its inmates. File picThe Rs 150-crore renovation of Byculla zoo will also include 21 new enclosures for its inmates. File pic

Also known as Veer Jijamata Bhosale Udyan, the 53-acre animal park is a Grade II(B) heritage site, which means any changes need to be cleared by the heritage panel first. Currently, phase-wise renovation is going on, and Central Zoo Authority (CZA) recently issued final approval for all 21 new animal enclosures of animals last month.

The Rs 150-crore project is expected to be completed by July 2015, but could be delayed by a few months without the heritage committee’s approval. The committee had sent its suggestions to the zoo authorities two months ago, but is yet to receive a reply. Its main concern is that new structures within the 153-year-old zoo should not spoil its beauty or reduce the open spaces there.

V Ranganathan, chairman of Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee said, “There are nine different structures, including a rain shed, toilets and water fountains, which are going to come up in zoo premises. The committee had suggested that the locations be changed and less space be used for their construction.”

“The proposed toilets are going to take more space so we have suggested that the zoo authority construct them in a separate corner and use less space. Also, open spaces should not be obstructed by these upcoming structures. We are expecting to get a reply from the zoo authority in the next few days,” added Ranganathan.

The director of Byculla Zoo, Dr Anil Anjankar confirmed this and said, “We have agreed to the changes suggested, and preparing a reply and will send it to the heritage committee soon.” It should be noted that the Heritage committee had earlier also asked that the zoo’s peripheral wall be demolished, exposing the inner wrought iron boundary intact, but the zoo authorities had objected, citing security concerns.

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