Despite Covid-related restrictions, the wildlife protection department is making all efforts to complete the Jambu Zoo project at the earliest, officials said here on Sunday.
The foundation stone of the Rs 120 crore project, covering an area of 229.50 hectares, was laid in September 2016 at Nagrota, along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, to make it a major attraction for animal lovers and tourists.
Sanjeev Verma, Commissioner-Secretary Forests, on Saturday inspected the project and directed the concerned officers to expedite the ongoing works, an official spokesperson said.
He said major components such as veterinary hospital, leopard enclosure, tiger enclosure, staff quarters, animal feed store, animal kitchen, slope stabilisation works, viewpoints, reservoirs, and cafeteria are in an advanced stage of completion.
Works on enclosures for animals such as sambar, spotted deer, lion, bear and gharial are at different stages of construction or tendering work, the spokesperson said.
Jammu and Kashmir”s Chief Wildlife Warden Suresh K Gupta said work worth over Rs 30 crore are under progress at the zoo and tendering of works of around Rs 6 crore is under process.
“Wildlife Protection department is making all efforts to complete the project at an earliest,” he said.
The officials said Jambu Zoo would be the first full-fledged Zoo in Jammu and Kashmir and would be a major attraction for the tourists. It would also serve as a centre for education and awareness about wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
Upon completion, the Jambu Zoo will host several native and exotic animals in its 17 enclosures, he said.
The current phase of the project is being funded by Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC) at an estimated cost of Rs 62.41 crore.
He also asked them to plant ornamental plants, shrubs, and climbers of different foliage colours along both sides of the road, the spokesperson said.
The commissioner-secretary directed the officers to place first-aid kits at different locations of the zoo in case of any emergency.
The official said one of the most interesting features of the project would be that the visitors would see the animals in moats and in their natural habitat instead of cages.—(PTI)