“The protest is to prevent the zoo from being shifted,” said Ajay Chaudhary, Sena Vibhag pramukh. He added the agitation will include a street play to encourage people to join the protest against the recommendation in the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) consultant’s report.
After MiD DAY broke the news on June 28 about the consultant’s suggestion to shift Byculla Zoo to either Aarey Colony in Goregaon or Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivli, politicians across party lines opposed the decision (‘Historic Jijamata Udyan may be moved to suburbs’, June 28).
Even Mayor Sunil Prabhu opposed the recommendation, writing to CM Prithviraj Chavan demanding the proposal be ignored. He told MiD DAY, “As a mayor I strongly oppose the recommendation to move the zoo from its existing spot.” The civic standing committee chairman too sent his objection to MTDC officials. The chairman Rahul Shewale has also written to the MTDC.
A private consultant appointed by MTDC recommended in its report that Byculla Zoo be shifted to the suburbs. The consultant had mentioned this in his presentation of the Tourism Development Plan before the Greater Mumbai Tourism Area Development Committee on June 19, and MTDC invited suggestions on its website. According to the report, the size of Byulla Zoo is 19 hectares, whereas the national park is 10,400 hectares with ample space for a worldclass zoo.