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First step towards zoo’s facelift

delhi Updated: Mar 17, 2011 23:13 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Three years after the first deadline to submit the complete master plan to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the National Zoological Park in Delhi has finally submitted its first draft for overhauling the country’s premier zoo.

The authorities from the park, which is popularly known as the Delhi zoo, made a presentation of the concept plan and appraisal report to the CZA. The first draft submitted to the zoo regulator on Wednesday has come three years after the original deadline of March 31, 2008.

Spread over 214 acres, the Zoological Park in Delhi is the only zoo that comes directly under the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests. Reasons ranging from corrupted computers to court case and changes in the administration have delayed the master plan for the zoo.

A major highlight of the plan is the proposal of streamlining visitor circulation. “For instance, we plan to prepare different packages to give various options to the visitor. Few may come for just two hours, few would like to focus on birds only, others might like just the tigers. There are others who may want to spend the entire day in the zoo,” zoo director AK Agnihotri told HT.

A necessary step in this direction would be to delineate service areas and visitor areas. Zoo authorities are also planning to improve animal holding facilities, refurbish infrastructure and rework parking alignment along with a new rate structure. There would also be a new centre for visitor education.

An important aspect that has not been incorporated in the first draft is that of close circuit television cameras (CCTVs). A private firm had dragged the zoo authorities to the court, alleging corruption in awarding contracts for the same. “This would be taken care of only when the court case is disposed off,” the zoo director said.

However, the final master plan is still at least six months away. Dr Brij Kishore Gupta, CZA’s evaluation and monitoring officer, said, “To start with, members of the expert group of zoo designing of the CZA would carry out a field appraisal of the zoo in March-end.”

Agnihotri said, “The CZA would suggest/advice us on certain things and we will make changes accordingly—we have some plans, they tell us to delete something—such interactions would continue for months before the plan is finalised.”

Cobra bites zoo employee

A routine task of feeding a cobra, housed in the Reptile House of the Delhi zoo, turned almost fatal for Parvez, 25 (he goes by single name), when the reptile bit him on the right hand.

Apparently the cobra was hidden in the enclosure and Parvez could not see him as he went about doing his routine tasks of cleaning and putting out food for the reptile on Wednesday.

The zoo employee was immediately taken to the zoo’s animal hospital and administered an anti-venom dose. “But when things did not help, he was admitted to the RML hospital,” zoo director AK Agnihotri said.

Hospital sources said he is stable yet critical. “He is under observation,” sources added.