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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Bumpy ride to zoo nature tips

Patna, Jan. 23: Visitors to Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park in the state capital would in the future not only see animals but also learn more about the flora and fauna at a proposed nature-interpretation centre on the zoo premises.

The hi-tech centre is expected to be ready by 2013. For the present though, visitors to the zoo are advised to tread carefully. The repair work on the roads inside the zoo has not started because of a shortage of funds.

Sources said the zoo authorities received Rs 19.57 lakh from the state environment and forests department to expand some roads, lay new surface and cover potholes. But the zoo authorities have not begun the work, as their total requirement for the project is Rs 63 lakh.

An official at the zoo told The Telegraph: “Patna zoo got only Rs 19.57 lakh from the planned expenditure under this head from the environment and forests department in the current fiscal. Our total requirement, however, is Rs 63 lakh for the repair of all roads inside the zoo.”

As a result some of the roads would be repaired and others would remain in a shambles. “We are left with no option than to repair only the roads along the animal enclosures because of funds shortage. The arterial roads from gate number 2 along with few of its connecting roads would remain un-repaired. The work on these roads would be undertaken only after release of more funds,” the official added.

The authorities claim that more funds could be forthcoming by the end of this fiscal.

“The department had received the request of funds up to Rs 63 lakh for repair work of roads in Patna zoo. We have released Rs 19.57 lakh till date. This was available with the department for this scheme. We are, however, trying to release the remaining funds for the scheme through a planned budget expenditure by the end of this fiscal,” said B.A. Khan, principal chief conservator of forest, department of environment and forest.

The present rough roads, however, do not deter the future plans of zoo officials.

Abhay Kumar, director, Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, told The Telegraph: “We have selected Sen and Lall Consultants Pvt. Ltd as the consultant architect for the development of a nature-interpretation centre on the zoo premises. The centre would provide guided tours to educate visitors through audio-visual means like films and educational exhibitions on wildlife, nature, forests and other similar subjects.”

Sources said the firm would furnish a detailed project report by end-March.

Kumar added: “The building of this centre would be very attractive. It would be constructed out of eco-friendly material, including bamboo and stones. Though the final location of the centre is yet to be finalised, we have identified possible spots — one near the director’s office and the other beside the zoo guesthouse.”

He also said: “We expect the company to furnish a detailed project report by end-March. It would take 18 months more for completion of construction work.”