PESHAWAR: (APP) Adviser to the Chief Minister for Environment , Forests and Wildlife , Syed Ishtiaq Urmar said on Monday that work on first ever Animal zoo in Peshawar was in full swing and would be inaugurated by December this year.
In an exclusive interview here at his office, the adviser said first phase of the Peshawar zoo, which is being established in the premises of Pakistan Forests Institute, Peshawar over 29 acres land , would be inaugurated by December this year as work on the project was in full-swing.
The zoo's boundary wall has been completed while work on its overhead water tank and area layout and sewerage area are in full swing, he added.
In the first phase, we would keep local species and later on foreign animals and pheasants would be brought to it, he said.
"We are in contact with South Africa to bring rare animals, birds and wild species in the Peshawar zoo , he said, adding it would a model zoo of Pakistan that would provide better recreational facilities to the entertainment starved Peshawarities at their doorsteps.
Walking and cycling tracks besides modern restaurants would also be setup in the premises of the zoo to provide better recreational facilities to the residents, he explained.
The zoo will also comprise offices, animal health care centres, a parking area, a food court, an aquarium, a souvenir shop, he said, adding animal keepers, supervisors, veterinarians and security staff would be appointed besides creation of enclosures for ostriches.
The adviser said the zoo would also serve education, public awareness and a research centre in the province.
Ishtiaq Urmar when asked about non allocation of funds for the zoo in KP budget 2016-17 said , Rs 120 million have been already approved for this mega project and if required more funds would be provided from the umbrella funds of Environment Department.
The total budget of Environment Department in the current fiscal year is Rs4 billion and establishment of zoo is our top priority, he said.
PTI Chief Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone of the zoo on February 3, 2016 and the Chief Minister KP during its inauguration address has announced its establishment by October this year.
It merits to mention here that the idea of setting up a zoo in Peshawar was floated during the previous government when a group of students from Beaconhouse School System, Khyber Campus, Hayatabad, Peshawar had collected signatures to petition the then chief minister Amin Haider Hoti to announce the construction of a zoo in Peshawar.
Peshawar Development Authority had offered to provide a land in Regi Lalma for Rs240 million, which was beyond the allocated funds for the zoo. Another site Dheri Zardad, along Nowshera-Charsadda Motorway, was also not suitable as it was not easily accessible and so the idea of establishing the zoo was dropped.
Syed Ishtiaq Urmar said the PTI led government accorded high priority to this project and found a suitable site in premises of Pakistan Forest Institute for it. He said zoo site is not only accessible and suitable but would also help make Peshawar Zoo spread on 29 acres bigger than Lahore Zoo, which was established over 24 acres.