In a first, the cash strapped Punjab government has decided to rope in local civic bodies to maintain zoological parks in Punjab.
As per the move, the state's civic bodies, which come under local government department, would contribute one per cent of their total budget.
A decision in this regard was taken during the recent meeting chaired by Punjab chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh among officials of Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department and other concerned departments. Sources said, the decision was taken by the CM after realising the fact that the zoological parks were in a dire need of a facelift.
Sources said, it was decided after noticing that the local civic bodies are maintaining all the recreational spaces of their respective area. "Zoological parks falls under the same category. Civic bodies can take over the maintenance of zoos. Responses from concerned Deputy Commissioners and Municipal Commissioners will be sought in this regard," said a senior officer, wish not to be named. In the budget 2017-18 a budget outlay of Rs 4,610 Crore has been mentioned for the local government department. Sources said, one per cent of this amount will not be an uphill task for the civic bodies.
The wildlife officers said that action plan has been prepared to revamp the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, popularly known as Chattbir Zoo, Patiala's Bir Motibagh Zoo, Ludhiana Zoo and Bir Talab Zoo in Bathinda. As per the plan, a new ‘Pheasantry’- a place dedicated for Pheasants, ‘Walk-in aviary’- a place where people can walk in between bird’s enclosures is being set up at Chattbir Zoo. Also, the department has planned to increase the area of Lion Safari and Deer Safari at Chattbir Zoo.
In case of Ludhiana Zoo, the plan is on the cards to introduce new pheasants for the first time. After this visitors will have an opportunity to take a look of endangered birds like Khaleej Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, Mongolian Ring Necked Pheasant, Amherst Pheasant, and Red Jungle Fowl under the animal and bird exchange programme. Apart from this, a nature park at the Mattewara forest area in Ludhiana is being established.
Similarly, in Patiala, a special ‘Bird-aviary’ has been planned to be introduced. Another plan is to build up Leopard enclosures to make the Patiala zoological park a favourite destination among wildlife lovers.
Likewise, the roadmap has also been planned for Bir Talab Zoo in Bathinda as the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has already approved the setting up of a ‘Tiger Safari’ in 2016.