Nagpur: With forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar setting a deadline to complete the African Safari at Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park, the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) invited international zoo consultant Bernard Harrison to review the proposed project.
Bernard was accompanied by FDCM officials including general manager Rishikesh Ranjan, zoo director Shatanik Bhagwat and others. The zoo expert visited the rescue centre, Indian Safari, and proposed African Safari site which is to be constructed in the second phase.
In the 2022-23 budget, the state government had earmarked Rs100 crore for the project. “Of this, Rs39 crore has been released to FDCM,” said Ranjan.
Bernard has been linked with Gorewada park since 2008 when he had made a grand master plan but it was scrapped by the state owing to cost constraints. However, there were several hiccups and the revised master plan was prepared by city-based consultant Ashfaque Ahmed Consultancy Services Private Limited (AACSPL) following which India Safari came with PWD executing it.
The zoo expert was again roped in as a consultant to set up other attractions by Essel World, the partner in the joint venture company (JVC) with FDCM. However, Essel World parted ways and the JVC has been terminated. Ranjan said, “Bernard is still a consultant, and his schematic designs for African Safari (65ha), Bird Park (12ha), and Safari Plaza (4ha) have Central Zoo Authority (CZA) approval. These designs need to be checked with the PWD. The safari will be built by FDCM only.”
Earlier, on April 22, 2022, then FDCM managing director N Vasudevan had said, “CZA has already approved the layout plans, and the process to appoint an architectural consultant for African Safari to prepare drawings and structural designs will be initiated soon. This will be followed by preparing detailed estimates and floating of tenders for physical work.”
The development of zoo attractions is going at a snail’s pace. The Walking Trail near the zoo entrance plaza was to be completed in a year’s time but even after four years, it has not seen the light of the day. There are no experts to look after the project.





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