THE recent decision of the state government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) to shift the Prince of Wales Zoological Garden (locally known as Lucknow zoo) from to Southern countries its present location to the Dubbaga forest area, Moosabagh, Hardin road, has triggered off a controversy. The proposal, announced at a public meeting by the chief minister (cm) of up, Mayawati, includes the building of a new secretarial complex at the same spot.
The zoo has been in existence since 1921 and encloses a vast green belt spread over a large range. As the zoo is located in the heart of the city where air pollution is the highest, this green cover serves as an absorber of the cock- tail of smoke emitted by numerous vehicles. Therefore, it is feared that if any construction is undertaken in this area, the trees will be hacked and the greens will vanish. The shifting of the zoo and the construction of a new zoo complex at the proposed site in Moosabagh would cost the public exchequer about Rs 25 cone. This shifting sounds more ridiculous and surprising at a time when already the renovation work of the present zoo is in progress and expenditure to the tune of about Rs 30 lakh has been incurred in the modification process of the existing structure.
With space constraints troubling the zoo, a sizeable number of people strongly feel that the shifting of the zoo to the more spacious Moosabagh area will do more benefit than harm. Said Mahendra Singh, the zoo director, "if the zoo is located on the city's outskirts, then only, genuine wildlife lovers will go there and those more interested in fun and frolic will not go that distance. This will also make the maintenance task easier" Singh, however, feels that shifting should not be dope at the cost of the present green belt.
Meanwhile, Aarge number of children, city veterans, professionals, youth and others recently collected at the zoo gate and formed a human chain outside the zoo to protest against the Mayawati government's intentions to shift the zoo. The World Wide Fund for Nature has appealed the CM to consider the environmental repercussions of the proposal and also to obtain permission from the Central Zoo Authority before shifting the zoo.