Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Other plan that also went awry

Other plan that also went awry

Bannerghatta Biological Park project is gathering dust

The plan was proposed in 2003 and received the approval of the Central Zoo Authority in 2006

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore

The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) master plan proposed in 2003 to improve the zoo and the safari area is gathering dust. The plan was set to be implemented in five years and in two phases.
In the first phase, the BBP proposed to set up a butterfly park, an extended zoo area, increase the number of enclosures, improve safari roads and develop the parking area. Though the proposal was approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in 2006, the project is only half way through.
BK Singh, chief conservator of forests (wildlife) said that BBP had allocated a budget of Rs20 crore for the first phase. The 20-year master plan includes construction of more and better enclosures to avoid conflicts among animals and provide them more space. However, a delay in this led to the death of an 18-year-old Royal Bengal tigress in October 2008, which was killed by a 10-year-old tigress kept in the same enclosure.
Animal lovers allege that only some construction works around the park had been done in the first phase. An interpretation centre which was constructed in 2008 is yet to be utilised. Officials had neglected the rescue and the rehabilitation centres and ignored the welfare of animals while concentrating on infrastructure development.
BBP has blacktopped several roads under the master plan in the sloth bear safari area. But this can be dangerous as the bears can dig and lick the tar and this can lead to health hazards, say experts. The need for metalled roads in an area that belongs to animals was questioned.
A proposal for the second phase was sent to the CZA for approval and the preliminary copy of the plan is under preparation.
Honourary wildlife warden Harish R Bhat, however, suggested, "Apart from being a recreation centre, BBP is a learning ground. Thus priority should be given to the welfare of the animals. Reviewing the rush to the zoo, it should be made more spacious, similar to Mysore and Hyderabad zoos. Simultaneously, they have to be careful of park boundaries. The upcoming recreation facilities opposite BBP should be shifted elsewhere and the space should be utilised to enhance facilities."

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