Claiming that there will be no change in the civic body’s plan to revamp the Veermata Jijabai Udyan and the botanical garden would be preserved, civic chief Subodh Kumar clarified on Friday that enough care was being taken to ensure that not even a single tree was cut.
On Friday, the Hindustan Times had reported about Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh asking chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to intervene in the zoo redevelopment and preserve the largest green open public space in the heart of the city.
“The proposal to convert this historical botanical garden into an international zoo is ill-advised and would gravely endanger the 150-year-old botanical garden. This is the island city’s largest open space and is enjoyed by a huge number of visitors daily,” Ramesh wrote to Chavan in his letter dated April 6, 2011.
Speaking to media persons, Kumar said, “We have planned the revamp in such a way that the existing pathways will not be disturbed, nor will any of the existing routes to the cages be altered. Hence, there will be no need to make changes to the botanical garden.”
Kumar had recently announced his decision to cut the budget of the project from Rs480 crore to Rs150 crore.
The municipal chief had earlier said that there would be a separate enclosure for wild cats, which would come up on the additional land that the civic body would be acquiring from the Mafatlal mills next to the zoo. He also confirmed that a birds and reptiles park was being planned in Powai.
The zoo, spreading over 53 acres, houses the 150-year-old botanical gardens A biodiversity mapping had concluded that the civic body’s bid to revamp the zoo would affect the botanical garden adversely.