Government signs MoU for transfer of Aarey land to BMC for zoo

Updated: Jun 06, 2019, 08:04 IST | Agencies | Mumbai

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party controls the BMC and forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar were present on the occasion

Aarey Colony. File pic
Aarey Colony. File pic

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Wednesday for transfer of land in Aarey Colony for a zoo.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party controls the civic body, and forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar were present on the occasion. With the signing of the memorandum, the government handed over more than 100 acres of land at Arey Colony in suburban Goregaon to the BMC for developing an international- standard zoo, which will be an extension of the existing Byculla Zoo in central Mumbai.

Thackeray said it was a proud moment for the city, and mentioned that the MoU was signed on World Environment Day. He also expressed hope that the new municipal commissioner, Praveen Pardeshi, will ensure execution of key projects in the city in a time-bound manner. Mungantiwar said the zoo will have rare animals and will be both entertaining and educating. A senior BMC official said the zoo will have a jungle safari, and also breeding facilities for endangered species such as the Great Indian Bustard. However, environmental activist Stalin D demanded that Aarey Milk Colony be declared a reserve forest and merged with the neighbouring Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

"A conservation initiative is welcome and not a zoo. The area should be made a biological reserve, a conservation zone, a wild-life rehabilitation area where animals are free and visitors need to move around in sound-proof glass vehicles," he said. "The concept of keeping animals in captivity should be discarded. Aarey Colony must be rejoined with SGNP and used to keep animals that can not survive in the wild," he said.

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