Following a heated discussion on the ‘poor care’ given to Humboldt penguins at the Byculla zoo, opposition parties in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staged a walkout Wednesday, to show their dissatisfaction with the civic administration’s ‘inadequate’ response to the death of one of the birds.
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The corporators also demanded that the rest of the penguins be sent back.
The discussion had stemmed from the proposal to construct amenities such as toilet blocks within the premises of the Byculla zoo, which was eventually approved by the ruling Shiv Sena and BJP.
Corporators from the opposition parties demanded that the penguins be sent back before more of them die. MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande said the zoo authorities did not have any idea about the correct way to take care of the penguins.
“The administration is lying by saying that the contractor was not blacklisted. Why has it taken so long to take action against the contractor? A full-fledged inquiry should be carried out against Highway Construction Company and till then, the penguins should be sent back,” he said.
Rais Shaikh of Samajwadi Party similarly alleged that the penguin died primarily because of being under high stress in the quarantine area. Defending the project, leader of the house and Sena member Trushna Vishwasrao said it had been approved by the BMC and nobody had objected earlier. “This has nothing to do with politics and this initiative was taken for children. The contractor’s work hasn’t been as per our expectation and should be removed,” she said.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Idzes Kundan said that the new enclosures being built for the penguins will be completed as per the international standards mandated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Kundan said the penguins are being taken care of by doctors who were appointed after ensuring that they were adequately trained.
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