Proposed `Lion Safari` in Akhilesh`s native district

Lion Safari -- the dream project of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav which was shelved by the Mayawati regime-- is now being revived by the new UP govt.

Lucknow: Lion Safari -- the dream project of
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav which was shelved
by the previous Mayawati regime-- is now being revived by the
new Uttar Pradesh government.

The project, which was mooted in 2005 in Yadav`s native
village of Saifai in Etawah district, was put on the back
burner under Mayawati government but with SP back at the helm
of the affairs, state forest department has started working on
it again.

"The work has started again on the Lion Safari project
to be set up at 50 acres of Fischer forest area. The
permission in this regard has been taken from the Central Zoo
Authority (CZA). Now we are preparing a master-plan for the
project and get it approved," Principal Forest Conservator J S
Asthana said.

The cost of opening the safari in the home district of
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was Rs 20 crore in 2005 but has
escalated now and would be worked out soon.

The CZA has put certain conditions for final approval
of the project and work is underway to fulfil them, he said.

About the conditions, Ashthana said that CSA had asked
the department to first establish a breeding centre for lions
so that those brought from outside could be mated here and
only the new-borns were left in the safari so that they can
adapt the conditions.

"We are completing formalities in this regard," he said.
The Asiatic lions, which are facing a serious threat of
extinction would be given natural breeding atmosphere in the
proposed safari in Saifai nestled between the Yamuna and
Chambal rivers.

These royal beasts were found roaming in south-western
Asia and northern India barely 200 years ago and are now
confined to a small pocket in Gir forest reserve of Gujarat
only, Forest department officials said.

This lion safari in Safai would be a special kind of zoo
where the Asiatic lion would be kept for breeding so that the
threat of their extinction could be minimised.

Etawah district, officials say, had a remarkable
similarity of temperature and humidity, vegetation, ruggedness
of the terrain with the Gir protected area that would help in
breeding them.

The Yadav`s pocketborough already has an airstrip, a
grand stadium cum sports complex and a state-of-the-art
hospital on the lines of the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate
Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow and with the opening
of Lion Safari it is likely to emerge as a popular tourist
destination, officers involved in the project said.