Change of Guard: Ranchi Zoo
Ranchi’s Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park is looking up to just-appointed principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) S.N. Trivedi to set many of its problems right.
In the last two years, two chief wildlife wardens — what the principal chief conservator of forests is also known as — have come and gone, but the fate of the zoo’s much touted pet projects like the butterfly park, water park and toy train continues to hang in balance. The zoo’s plans to import giraffes from South Africa and white tigers from Guwahati too are pending for long with the state doing precious little to improve inmate diversity.
In fact, a giraffe enclosure was constructed on the zoo premises at a cost of Rs 2 lakh last year, but funds are not forthcoming from the state to meet the massive costs involved to get the animals from South Africa.
The cost of importing the animals is expected to run into crores.
“The giraffe enclosure is ready. Now, it is up to the government to approve funds. We aren’t surprised by the delay as it has been a norm with every project. Now, we can only hope that the new chief conservator gets the pending jobs done,” said an official. Officials maintained that the area has been cemented according to requirement, grassland developed and the enclosure is ready to play host.
The giraffe project was proposed in 2010 during the tenure of then PCCF A.K. Singh. Singh, who retired in January this year, was in charge of wildlife and general forest wings.
The delay in getting the butterfly park, water park and toy train on track has been primarily because of a faulty tender process to start with, then the failure of successive bidding process and bureaucratic tangles which derailed the zoo’s growth story despite increasing footfalls.
The butterfly park, water park and an aquarium were to be constructed in the botanical section of the zoo, whereas the toy train was to be set up in the zoological section. Without a detailed project report in place, it is not even known what the estimated cost of putting them in place would be.
Also hanging in balance is the fate of the proposed night safari —former forest minister Sudesh Mahto’s pet project planned in an area near the zoo.
It was first conceptualised somewhere around 2004-05. However, it gained impetus in 2010 when the forest department formally sent a proposal to the central zoo authority for approval.
The project cost was around Rs 200 crore, and the authority too gave its nod, but the state backtracked when it suddenly realised Rs 200 crore was too big an amount.
So is the new conservator listening?
“The file related to the zoo has just reached my office. I haven’t gone through it in detail but I am aware of the delayed projects. I have already asked the chief conservator of forests (CCF) to redo the tender process at the earliest,” Trivedi said.
But interestingly Trivedi, who only assumed office in early February, will be retiring in three months.
“At present, all my focus is to push ahead pending projects. Besides the zoo, I am also taking up a few pending projects in Palamau Tiger Reserve,” he said.