HMDA shelves Hyderabad's ambitious first night safari project

Singapore consultant warns of environ challenges and threat to birds and animals

Hyderabad: Citing non-feasibility, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has cancelled the proposal to build the city’s first night safari project. Officials said that the Singapore-based consultant has opined that once executed, the project would not only pose greater challenges but also put the safety of several animals in peril.

Calling off the project, the authorities are now exploring options to set up an eco-park in about 120 acres at Kothwalguda.

Highly placed sources in the HMDA said that the Kothwalguda site, which was earlier visited by Bernard Harrison, principal partner (creativity and design), and Alexander Stingal, general manager (business operation) of Bernard Harssion and Friends Ltd., Singapore, gave a positive report and claimed that it would be the ideal location for the night safari.

The team once again visited the site to submit rough estimates. However, after inspecting the site, the consultant informed HMDA that if executed they would have to reckon with several challenges to provide a sustainable environment for over 150 species apart from constructing sophisticated structures. Sources said that the project cost would be equal to that spent on Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL)

A senior HMDA official on condition of anonymity told Deccan Chronicle that the Singapore experts had in 2018 given a positive response and had assured that they would be ready with the designs during their 2019 visit.

He said municipal authorities had also formed two teams comprising officials from Environment Protection Training & Research Institute (EPTRI) to conduct a baseline survey for impact assessment, to check groundwater levels and air quality, forest department officials, urban biodiversity officials, engineering officials, tourism officials and others.

He said that one team coordinated with the Singapore delegation to assist them in providing infrastructure and another focussed on the budget requirements in order to tap financial institutions for funding the project.

This apart, the official said that the second team had also coordinated with the Union government for getting clearance to the night safari proposal. However, after conducting a detailed study in 2020, the consultants felt that the topography of Kothwalguda would not be suitable for construction of night safari as it could raise environmental challenges, the officer said.

Considering the budget related issues among others, the HMDA official said that the municipal authority had decided to call-off the proposal. He said that the government was actively considering the proposal to construct an eco-park on 120 acres and a meeting in this regard would be held shortly.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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