The Maharashtra forest department has sent an ambitious international standard jungle safari project proposal at Gorewada in Nagpur to the state government for an approval.
According to field director of Gorewada project, AR Mande, the proposed jungle safari would be based on the example of Singapore’s animal park and would around cost Rs 720-crore. The project is expected to attract 25 to 30 lakh tourists each year and is expected to boost tourism in the backward region of Vidarbha.
The project will have a zoological park, in keeping with international standards, a breeding centre, a safari park, botanical garden, night safari, wetlands, an interpretation centre and eco-tourism, a rare combination in India.
As it would be very difficult for the state to cough up Rs 720-crore for the project, most of the works would be executed on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis. “Experts in the field of zoo from various parts of the country made valuable suggestions on size, animals, research centre, administration for the proposed safari jungle to be developed as per the international standard,” informs Mande.
The experts, who undertook a survey of Gorewada, outskirts of Nagpur city---spread over 1920-hectare---found it as an ideal place for developing the zoo of international standard. They suggested developing 200 hectare situated on the right side of Katol Road for accommodating different species of animals from local and abroad, an aquarium, reptiles and nocturnal animals. It was decided to offer jungle safari by housing tigers, lions and African animals in the remaining areas of the land.
The state forest proposal would likely to be tabled before the cabinet in its next meeting for an approval, informs the Maharashtra Forest minister Babanrao Pachpute. Pachpute was here to hold a meeting in this regard with the senior forest officials. “The proposed safari jungle would involve in an expenditure of at least 250-crore in its first phase work, to be completed by 2011 while the entire works would be completed in four phase manner by 2016,” he added.
The forest minister and senior officials of the department have undertaken tours of Singapore, Kenya and South Africa to study the models of international standard safari jungle and zoos there. Later, Bernard Harrison, the principal partner creativity and design, Bernard Harrison and Friends, Singapore was given the contract to prepare a master plan for the safari jungle, through a global tender. Bernard was in the city in November last year for week-long discussions on inception report he presented before preparation of a master plan document for getting permission of the Central Zoo Authority for the establishment of a safari jungle in Gorewada.
After getting the plan last month, the state forest department approved it and sent to the government for a final nod.