The Odisha Government is planning to request the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to expedite setting up of a second ZOO in the state at Sambalpur. “We are planning to move the CZA for the proposed second zoo only after we get a concrete proposal. It will be done after finalizing the proposed site and study the related impacts of the proposed project,” said BP Singh, special secretary of forest and environment department.
He said the proposal for a ZOO at Sambalpur was announced in the Assembly nearly nine years ago. He said Laxmi Dunguri, a place between Burla and Sambalpur on the bank of river Mahanadi, is one of the sites being considered for the project. But the site is yet to be finalized, he said, adding around 100 acres of land required for the zoo is available at the site. Availability of water and pollution would also be major criterion to develop the project in western Odisha, he said.
Another officer said the department would also assess the possible impact of Hindalco, a mega aluminium manufacturing unit with captive power plant at Hirakud, situated close to the proposed zoo site. “The proposal of a zoo is a welcome decision by the government. But the government should be serious in implementing the project, “said Prakash Meher of Sambalpur. Earlier, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had declared that the Laxmi Dungri would be converted into a zoo. But it is yet to take off, Meher said.
Officials said the department has set up a department-level committee to study present condition of Nandankanan zoo and 11 deer parks in the state and recommend their development.