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On the cards… toy train ride at Chhatbir zoo

Moving inside the Chhatbir zoo on your own vehicle could soon be a thing of the past.

Written by Nainu Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: January 4, 2009 12:40:01 am

Moving inside the Chhatbir zoo on your own vehicle could soon be a thing of the past.

Authorities at the Chhatbir,spread around 202 hectares of covered area,are contemplating to start a toy train for the visitors.

If everything goes according to plans,Chhatbir would be the second zoo after Patna zoo to run a toy train.

Officials say this is a part of the bigger plan to promote eco-tourism,the conceptual plan of which has already been made and sent to the Central Zoo Authorities (CZA) for final approval. The cost of the entire project is around Rs 20 crore.

“The covered area of the Chhatbir is huge. The only option visitors have is to use their own vehicles to move around the zoo. A proposal to run a toy train,for about three to four kilometres in the zoo,was thus mooted. The estimated cost for each kilometre is around Rs 1 crore. The idea has been taken from the Patna Zoo where the toy train was launched recently by Railway minister Lalu Prasad for the convenience of the visitors,” said a zoo official requesting anonymity.

On average,1,500 people visit the Chhatbir zoo daily.

Though the project is at its initial stage,if approved,it would go a long way in saving the greenery across the zoo. “Under the eco-tourism project,we would build special cottages for night stays and introduce nature trails in the area which has all herbivorous animals like sambar and jackal. Bird-watching towers across the forest area are also in the pipeline,the official added.

The project also includes special security arrangements for the entire forest area. This would include a security team,security cell and close circuit television (CCTV) cameras at almost every point across the zoo. “The eco-tourism project might be funded by national and international agencies like the Asian Development Bank. After the final nod is given,the plans under the project will be started within three years,” the official said.

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