Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Work on first phase of Lion Safari in full swing.

Faiz Rahman Siddiqui, TNN Jun 5, 2013, 02.46AM IST

KANPUR: The first phase of Lion Safari in Etawah started a fortnight ago. A breeding centre, veterinary hospital along with water-bodies and approach road would be constructed in the first phase of the safari being developed on 150 acres of Fisher Forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway.
"The safari will be a model for other zoos and safaris. It will be developed in an eco-friendly manner and in accordance with the Central Zoo Authority rules. International standard would be followed in its architecture. It will be one of the most energy-efficient building among zoos and safaris across the country. Minimum use of bricks and construction material will be the hallmark of all construction work," said Sujoy Banerjee, deputy conservator of Forest Chambal division.

"Fencing work has started and construction of breeding centre and veterinary hospital is underway," he said, adding that facilities available in the safari would make it a complete tourist spot. Forest department sources said activities like felling of trees, mining, setting up of brick-kilns and industries or hotels and resorts that cause water, air or sound pollution have been prohibited within the periphery of Lion Safari.
Besides, commercial use of ground water resources, establishment of major hydro-electric projects and use of polythene bags by visitors along with air and vehicular movements would be closely monitored. The department has already submitted a master plan for monitoring and regulating such activities.
"In an effort to protect the green cover and cleanliness of the Lion Safari, we will also launch an awareness drive on environmental pollution. The safari will be a no plastic zone," said another senior officer.
Plans are afoot to launch battery-operated eco-friendly vehicles in the safari. "This will not only help visitors watch animals in the wild but also curb air and sound pollution," said a senior official. In order to improve cleanliness and basic hygiene in the vicinity of safari, hi-tech eco-friendly toilets would be constructed at various locations in the safari. "These toilets will be equipped with solar-panel to provide electricity," he said.
The area where Asiatic Lions will be kept is covered with trees and grass thus providing natural shade for the animal.
"Forest cover with a dense presence of thorny vilayati 'babul' (botanical name prosopis juliflora) is not the ideal place to develop a suitable habitat for Asiatic Lions," said another forest department official. "So developing something that works for the royal beast in such topography will have tremendous significance," he added.
It may be recalled that Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had recently given green signal to a Lion safari park in Fisher Forest area of Etawah district for the conservation of Asiatic Lions. Some 150 hectares in Fisher Forest on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari in 2005.
A budget of Rs 86 crore has already been sanctioned. June 2015 has been set as a deadline for the construction work regarding the project, sources said.

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