LUCKNOW: Things couldn't have moved faster for the lion safari project in Etawah. The technical committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), GoI, granted the approval for the master layout plan of the project on Wednesday.
The master layout plan, which is the blueprint of the project, had got the nod from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) earlier. After getting the consent of the technical committee, the master layout plan is full and final.
The sources in the CZA said that the master plan of the project, which talks about the implementation of the project, will be debated for the first time by the internal committee of CZA on Thursday.
The officers in the UP forest department have already written to zoos in Hyderabad and Rajkot to bring Asiatic Lions of pure genetic bloodline under exchange programme. Till the safari comes into being, lions will be housed in the zoos.
Considering the 'social' behaviour of lions, and the fact that cubs born to the same mother, or those born to different mothers but brought up at the same place, do not mate, department will also set up a lion breeding centre. It will help add lions to the safari, in order to allow lions to mate.
After being in limbo for more than seven years, things on lion safari project started moving after SP came back to power in March this year. The ambitious lion safari project was conceived in 2005-06 by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government. But, Mayawati, after coming back to power in 2007, had put the project in the cold storage. The project, however, was revived quickly after SP swept the power this time.
Nearly 150 hectares of land in Fisher Forest on Etawah-Gwalior national highway, close to the Chambal Sanctuary, was acquired and notified as lion safari in 2005. But, work never progressed due to BSP being in power.