Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Attending the 61st Foundation day of famous Nandankanan Zoological Park here on Tuesday, Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha informed that a master plan to transform Nandankanan to a world class zoo in next 20 years at an approximate cost of Rs 600 Crore has already been submitted with the Central Zoo Authority of India and the government is awaiting the Centre's nod to go ahead.

"I hope the Central government will give its approval soon, so that the spectators can enjoy an enhanced, never-before zoo experience right here in the State Capital city," said Arukha.

Besides, he assured that the much-awaited Toy Train will soon start rolling in the zoo.

The other attraction of today's programme also attended by local MLA Suresh Routray among others, was the naming of two white tiger calves Luv & Kush.

As per reports, the naming ceremony of two calves born to White Tigress Sneha on January 9, 2020 was held today. Going online, the zoo authorities had asked the public to suggest names for the calves. In response, the names, Luv & Kush were finalised for the baby tigers, informed Sashi Paul, Director of Nandankanan Zoological Park.

Among a host of new services and facilities which were thrown for the public use today include a new exit point built at a cost of Rs 20 Lakh. Speaking on the new facility, Paul said, "The main entry and exit points to the park were same, making it difficult for us to manage the crowd. But, now we have developed another exit point that will facilitate the crowd from today."

Besides, construction of a dedicated parking place for Safari buses is in its last legs and it is scheduled to be inaugurated shortly.

"I am very happy today celebrating the 61st Foundation Day of Nandankanan. Forest & Environment Minister has graced the occassion as the Chief Guest of this programme. We are celebrating the event this year in a subdued manner without inviting the public," said Paul.

"We had many plans for the zoo in 2020 which were postponed due to the pandemic induced lockdown. Hope we will make up for the delay in the coming 2021," he said.

Speaking about the animals, Paul said, "We have already brought many animals like lions, foxes, Grey Wolves etc. and we are planning to bring leopards and bears from Aizawl and Jaipur in the coming days.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)