Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma visited the state's first modern Meghalaya Zoological Park in Umtrew, Ribhoi on May 20 to review the progress of its construction. With foot traffic from tourists reaching 12.7 lakh in 2019, the anticipated surge in visitors is expected to surpass 15 lakh by 2024.
The foundation stone for various works of this zoo was laid in October 2019 by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma himself. Covering approximately 72 hectares of land at Umtrew, the project is estimated to cost around 35 Crore, with approximately 21 Crore worth of work already completed. The visit aimed to assess the ongoing progress of the State Zoo and inspect the site alongside Forest Department officials.
During the inspection, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma expressed satisfaction, stating, "It has been a very satisfactory visit for me today at the Meghalaya Zoological Park. The infrastructure will be ready for tourists soon. After the necessary clearances from the Government of India and the Central Zoo Authority, we will open the gates for visitors. Additionally, we aim to enhance tourism facilities within the zoo premises, including trekking paths, a ropeway, children's park, and an interpretation center, to further boost tourist footfall."
Furthermore, the Chief Minister directed officials to complete all remaining works and procedural matters related to obtaining recognition from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) by June 30, 2023. He expressed his faith in the officials' dedication and suggested engaging local or private parties to run ancillary activities such as ticketing, cafeteria, souvenir shop, and vehicle services.
The Meghalaya Zoological Park is set to house a diverse range of animal species, including Barking deer, Sambar deer, Hog deer, Serow, Jackal, Fox, Himalayan black bear, Jungle cat, Civet cat, Leopard cat, Leopard, Clouded leopard, Hoolock gibbon, Stump-tailed Macaque, and Assamese Macaque.
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