Chandigarh: “The Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board of the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department, Punjab, has gone big time for development and expansion of visitor’s facilities at Chhatbir Zoo so as to ensure that it becomes a big attraction for the tourists. The project being executed under the Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (IDIPT) with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is in the final stages and once complete it would be a game changer and a major money spinner for the wildlife tourism sector of Punjab and would be biggest propeller for the economy of the state. The project would be completed by the 26th January, 2019 and would be formally inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh.”
This was disclosed by the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu here today at the Chhatbir Zoo while interacting with the mediapersons after carrying out a comprehensive review of the project. He further said that the project has come up at a cost of Rs. 7.90 crore.”
Sidhu also conducted a tour of the zoo on the occasion and announced the adoption of a pair (Male and Female) of White Tigers named Aman and Dia. Not only this, the minister also announced that a state of the art aquarium at a cost of Rs. 5 crore is very much in the pipeline. He also inaugurated a bus today which is prepared by the department and which would be parked at the places where cultural functions are held so as to ensure that people get to know about the rich cultural as well as historical heritage of the state.
Divulging more details regarding the facilities at the zoo, the minister said that an entrance gate designed with theme of conservation of wildlife has been provided and furthermore, A tree with profile of animals has been provided over the main gate. The Ticket counter has also been designed keeping in view the natural surroundings. Besides this, A holistic food plaza having provision for 4 multi branded food kiosks with outdoor and roof top sitting has been provided. Apart from this, An interpretation has also been constructed having a lobby, 2 Exhibition halls, An Audio Visual room and Toilets for ladies & Gents.
Listing more unique features about the project, Mr. Sidhu said that 10 visitor shelters have been provided at various locations along the internal roads in the zoo besides carpeting of internal with interlocking pavers on shoulders for a length on 3.50 Kilometres. Not only this but the existing lake has been rejuvenated by waterproofing the base to check loss of water due to seepage. A waterfall has been provided on the central island. The Children’s park with the theme of Jungle Training and adventure sports facility has been provided in the zoo.
Sidhu further added that after the efforts of the present state government the footfall to the zoo has witnessed upswing by 60 percent with 9 lakh tourists visiting the place in 2018-19 which is an increase of more than 3 lakhs as the number earlier was 5 and half lakhs. He said the target is to take this number to 10 lakhs.
Elaborating his futuristic vision in terms of tourism, the minister said that Rs. 5 crore to 10 crore would be spent on adding more facilities to the chhatbir zoo. He also said that 35 major tourist sites are under prime focus to be developed as world class tourist destinations. The sarais would be turned into wedding destinations and old palaces would be turned into 5 star hotels. Announcing further, he said that a floating restaurant at Harike is also in his scheme of things. These initiatives, said the minister, would lead to a grand increase in the revenue.