Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rain, waterlogging cause delay in lion safari project.

KANPUR: Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad, the nodal agency for the construction and execution of Lion Safari project in Etawah, had set a deadline of January 31 to complete the construction work at the breeding centre and veterinary hospital besides the main boundary wall.

Keeping in mind the fast approaching Lok Sabha elections, the work was supposed to be completed in the last week of January with the shifting of four pairs (four males and four females) of Asiatic lions from Lucknow and Kanpur Zoos at the breeding Centre of Lion Safari in Fisher Reserve Forest area but it could not do done due to rain in the region. The work got delayed by seven to 10 days.

Officials said work on nearly 2,500 metres of the main boundary wall of Lion Safari has now been resumed. "Rain since the first week of January had played spoilsport. It caused waterlogging and slush all around, which affected the work of raising the concrete walls," said Gurmeet Singh, wildlife warden (Lion Safari), claiming that almost 65 to 70% of the work related to the boundary wall had already been completed.

Sources informed that top officials have asked the authorities concerned to engage additional manpower and resources and speed up the work which got delayed due to rain.

JCBs and earth movers are being used and soil is removed to make deep trenches to raise concrete walls in nearly 2.5 kms of stretch of the total 7.75 kms around Lion Safari. During rain, the area got flooded, concreting work cannot be done and heavy machinery cannot be moved. Work related to welding and wiring also affected.

A senior official informed that three dozen employees have already been roped in by the state government to make the breeding and veterinary hospital in Lion Safari functional.

"The functions of the Safari would be carried out by several departments, namely, administration, animal welfare, commissary (store), transport, research, education and awareness, veterinary, horticulture, security and sanitation. There will be around 35 regular and contractual staff, including director, range officer, a veterinary doctor, two wildlife warden, one laboratory assistant, two clerks, three wildlife keepers, a biologist, who will be given the task of education, interpretation, and research of the Safari," added another official.

The director in the rank of conservator of forests, will be supported by one range officer, one education officer, a curator, besides a biologist and a forest guard. Field staff includes three keepers, four drivers, four security guards, two gate-keepers, two gardeners, one plumber, three sweepers, one electrician and one operator, he added.

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