Mayor opposes idea to relocate zoo

Jul 19, 2013, 01:31 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar

Sunil Prabhu, civic standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale have registered their protest against the proposal to shift Rani Baug to either Aarey Colony or Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Members of the Shiv Sena at the BMC have strongly opposed the recommendation of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to shift Byculla Zoo to the suburbs.

Staying put: The mayor said the zoo was of historic importance and should not be moved. File pic

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).

click to view: Historic Jijamata Udyan may be moved to suburbs
MiD DAY’s report on June 28

Mayor Sunil Prabhu wrote to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, demanding that the recommendation be ignored, even though Prabhu represents the Goregaon ward.
“As a mayor I strongly oppose the shifting of the existing Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Zoo,” said Prabhu.

He said, “The zoo is of historic importance and it should be in the island city. The BMC has planned to revamp the zoo according to international standards. Provisions have also been made for the budget of Rs 300 crore.”

The civic standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale has also registered his opposition in the matter, writing to the MTDC.

“If the government or MTDC want, they can develop a new zoo in the suburbs apart from the existing one in Byculla. We don’t have any objection to a second zoo, but the existing zoo should remain in the same place,” said Shewale.

A private consultant appointed by the MTDC recommended in its report that the Byculla Zoo -- better known as Rani Baug -- be shifted to the suburb.

The consultant had mentioned this in his presentation of the Tourism Development Plan before the Greater Mumbai Tourism Area Development Committee on June 19.

The MTDC then invited suggestions from citizens on the recommendations on its website. According to the report, the size of the Byulla Zoo is
19 hectares, whereas the national park is 10,400 hectares, with ample space for the construction of a world class zoo.

Other uses of the zoo as per the report
>> Convert it into a botanical garden
>> Jogging track
>> Water bodies can be built around the existing animal pond
>> Botanical research and conservation centre
>> Forest-themed restaurant
>> Library with books on trees and wildlife
>> Events hosted by Bhau Daji Lad Museum
>> Information kiosks
>> Picnic spot 

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