After Mayawati who had constituted a corpus of Rs 200 crore for maintenance of memorials constructed during her regime, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav too has decided to constitute a corpus of Rs 100 crore for bearing the expenses of running the Lion Safari at Saifai in Etawah.
The fund will be provided by Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation in two installments of Rs 50 crore each to the Etawah Lion Safari Park Society. It is being proposed that the interest accrued on the corpus will be utilised for the functioning of Lion Safari.
The funds will be parked in bank and an estimated interest of nearly Rs 10 crore will be spent annually on the safari.
“It has been principally agreed that the corpus will be given by UPFC. Funds will be transferred in the coming two years. After that it will take another six months for the interest amount,” said K K Singh, Director, Lion Safari, Etawah.
The funds will not be used for major work as it will be borne by the state government. The staff, which includes officials and employees, will be posted by the state’s forest department. They will live at houses being constructed on the safari campus.
“Still, some recruitment has to be done by the society and its expenses will be borne by the society from the corpus funds. Other expenses will be decided at a later stage,” Singh said.
Akhilesh also has formed three committees for smooth functioning of the safari. The first apex committee will be headed by CM himself with 16 members. Another governing body will be headed by principal secretary (forest) with 16 members while the executive committee will be headed by principal forest conservator and have 12 members.
At present, two lions have been shifted to Lion Safari in Etawah. Permission from Central Zoo Authority for shifting other six lions is awaited. Thereafter, the forest department will approach the CZA for granting zoo/safari status to the safari and them final permission will be sought from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The procedure is expected to take time even as the state’s forest department is trying to make it functional during Akhilesh’s regime.