Published On : Wed, Jun 21st, 2017

Finally, Gorewada Zoo Stage-II gets forest clearance

Nagpur: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis twitted ” Thank you Harshavardhan ji for granting final Stage-2approval for diversion of 564hectares of forest land for Gorewada Intnl Zoo at Nagpur. We are thankful to Ministry of Environment, forest and climate change, GoI for their continuous support to GoM !”

Now Stage II clearance is received after a delay of more than 12 years, the Gorewada International Zoo inched a little towards seeing the light of the day.

It may be noted that few days back the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) deposited Rs 13.73 crore towards net present value (NPV) of forest land diversion for the project and compensatory afforestation towards 170 hectares.

As reported earlier that Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the ministry of environment, forest, climate change (MoEFCC) granting forest clearance to Gorewada under Section 2 of the Forest Conservation) Act 1980. The clearance was subject to certain compliances and depositing NPV towards diversion of 84 hectare forest land for constructing zoo attractions.

The FAC is country’s topmost body granting forest clearances. It recommended Stage I clearance to Gorewada on April 25.

After FDCM deposited Rs 13.73 crores in the account of ad hoc CAMPA, Delhi than additional principal chief conservator of forests (APPCF) & nodal officer G Sai Prakash submitted all compliances to FAC required for Stage II clearance..

Though forest clearance proposal for 564 hectares was sent, FAC granted clearance to that much area only where construction activity will come up and change land use. FAC has restricted the diversion of forest area for non-forestry activities to 84 hectares only, which is little over 15% of the total 564 hectares forest land for which clearance was sought by FDCM.

Gorewada’s case was considered to be a special one with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis himself pursuing it with the MoEFCC. However, senior forest officials said granting forest clearance to 15% of the total area for diversion for such ex-situ conservation projects will be a thumb rule now.

The Gorewada international level zoo project was announced on December 12, 2005. It was handed over to FDCM on November 29, 2011. Among all other financial and technical hurdles, forest clearance was seen as one of the biggest hassles, which has now been cleared.

Now as per the new land use plan, the 84 hectare forest area is to be split for Indian Safari (6.37ha), African Safari (4.55ha), Biopark (12.59ha), Trails (5.01ha), Bird Aviaries (3.59ha), Water Reservoir (28.03ha), Entry Plaza & Children Park (12.19ha), other activity (6.29ha) and rescue centre (0.45ha).

“We have already shortlisted a Kolhapur-based firm for constructing Indian Safari. A Nagpur-based firm has also been shortlisted for reservoir. Once the Stage II clearance is received, work orders will be issued for physical development of these attractions,” said FDCM officials.