Following clearance by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a masterplan for Gorewada International Zoo has been sent for approval of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
According to the Government of Maharashtra, the total project area is 1,914 hectares which includes just over 25 hectares of non-forest government land. The Forest Advisory Committee and MoEFCC granted Stage-II forest clearance approval to the project in June.
Though permission has been granted for diversion of 564 hectares, the state government has been asked to ensure that only 15% of that (just shy of 80 hectares) should be utilised for non-forestry activities. The remaining area will act as green zone around the zoo and its attractions. In keeping with this request, a new masterplan has been has been prepared by Ashfaque Ahmed Consultancy Services.
In addition to its animal exhibits, the zoo will include an entrance plaza, bio-park, aviary, trail of senses, tribal village trail, river ride and reservoir.
Gorewada International Zoo’s safari plans
The project will also encompass a 145-hectare Indian safari and 90-hectare African safari. A planned night safari is to be shifted from the right side to the left side of Katol Road and curtailed from 60 to 45 hectares. Now, only a rescue centre and jungle safari will be located on the right side of the road. This will help maintain sanctity of the Gorewada Lake on the right side, which supplies drinking water to the city.
The Government of Maharashtra has invited tenders proposals from potential joint venture partners and is believed to be in talks with Mumbai amusement park operator Essel World.
The Indian safari has already got clearance, and work will start after monsoon season. A decision on the revised masterplan is expected soon. It if gets the go ahead, the project is proposed to be completed within four years.
Images courtesy Government of Maharashtra