Delhi Zoo halts battery car service



New Delhi: Visitors at Delhi Zoo are facing inconvenience as they are unable to avail services of battery-operated vehicles since last week after the contract with the private operator which was running them expired.

The pollution-free vehicles were offered on rent to visitors for a trip around the zoo which is home to over 1,200 animals and birds representing almost 130 species.

Officials at the zoo said the contract with the previous operator had ended in January, following which authorities had issued a tender for a new contract. But as only one private entity bid for it, the tender process was cancelled.

They said the tender will be floated again and the whole process is likely to get finalised before summer begins.

"We are planning to finalise the contract for the services within a month so that the visitors do not have to walk around the zoo in the summer heat" said Riyaz Khan, the curator of the Delhi Zoo.

The Delhi Zoo attracts around 10,000 visitors including foreigners on weekends and holidays while on weekdays around 3,000 to 4,000 people visit the park.

The private entity which was running the service had deployed 10 trolley vehicles under the service.

The battery-operated vehicle service was introduced in the zoo about 10 years back and it was quite popular among families coming with children.

The operator used to charge Rs 35 per head for adults and Rs 20 per child in the age bracket of five to 12 years.

Khan said the zoo authorities had offered a guided tour with trained personnel taking visitors around the park. But it did not find popularity among visitors following which the service was withdrawn.

"We had trained people specially to take the visitors around the park. But the service was withdrawn after finding that visitors did not prefer it," he said.

Khan said a number of "rest spots" have been set up. All the "rest spots" have drinking water facilities. "We are planning to set up more rest spots before peak summer months."

The curator also said that the authorities have drawn up an elaborate plan for keeping the animals and birds in good shape during the peak summer months.

PTI