More than seven months after over two-dozen black bucks had died at the Capital's National Zoological Park due to contaminated water mixed with back-flowing storm water, authorities are worried that the animals would face a similar fate this monsoon.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has not even started the work for laying a storm water drain that would connect the zoo's outlets to the existing drain running from under a railway line to the zoo's eastern edge and emptying into the Yamuna.
The black bucks (Antilope cervicapra) — included in the schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 — had died in September 2010 due to contaminated water due to overflowing faulty sewage mixed with back-flowing storm water, which failed to drain out into the Yamuna as the channel was blocked.
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) was supposed to fix the problem of sewage water overflows while the MCD had then said it would refurbish the channel leading to the Yamuna before next monsoon. Zoo officials said the DJB had completed its work but the MCD has not yet started anything.
Amitabh Agnihotri, zoo director, said, "We have already paid the first installment out of the total Rs 5.65 crore cost."
MCD plans to lay a storm water drain, which would run from Sunder Nagar — zoological park — railway culvert and then have outfall at Ring Road.
"The tendering procedure has been completed and the work is going to start shortly. We would endeavour our best to complete the construction of major portion before onset of ensuing monsoon," said Deep Mathur, MCD's director (press and information).
But construction of the storm water drain would be half the problem. The existing drain starting from below the railway line and headed towards the ring road is full of water hyacinth and other garbage and needs extensive cleaning and de-silting to avoid water logging and flow back.
"Besides laying of storm water drain, we would complete de-silting of incoming and outgoing drains before onset of monsoon so that rain water flows smoothly through the zoo," promised Mathur.
Zoo officials are keeping their fingers crossed.