Lahore Zoo & Safari Park’s Rs 5 Billion Upgradation Attracts Scrutiny

bahawalpur zoo s tiger bubbli delivered a litter of four cubs on wednesday bringing zoo staff and visitors a wave of happiness photo express

Bahawalpur Zoo’s tiger Bubbli delivered a litter of four cubs on Wednesday, bringing zoo staff and visitors a wave of happiness.

The upgradation of the Lahore Zoo and the Safari Park by the Punjab caretaker government gives interesting insight into the viability of reconstruction projects with a tight deadline. In November , the caretaker government had laid the foundation stones for the upgradation of the Lahore Zoo and the Safari Park, with a strict directive to complete the reconstruction projects by January 31st.

The project failed to meet the fixed deadline given the nature of the work. The viability and quality of the hurried project, which in the urgency to meet a given deadline and display a nameplate, ended up compromising the quality of the refurbishment work.

“There is a difference between the construction work for wildlife sanctuaries and regular infrastructure. It is fairly simple to construct a road, underpass, or bridge, but there are numerous considerations to take into account when constructing a living habitat for birds and wild animals. Expediting such projects can result in substandard facilities among other pitfalls in the future,” explained Mian Hafeez, Former Director of Project for Punjab Wildlife and the Green Pakistan Program. “The reconstruction project of the Lahore Zoo and Safari Park, which is slated to reach completion within a matter of months, requires at least one and a half to two years for quality upgradation,” he added.

Furthermore, experts from the Planning and Development Board have also specified that since concrete, cement and sand is to be used in the construction structure due to their increased sustainability and durability, it may take more time for the construction structures to solidify and mature adequately given the cold winter season. What is interesting to note is that despite, several wildlife experts voicing their skepticism about the completion of the project in a time frame of less than six months, the authorities remained adamant at completing the project within just three months of its commencement.

The zoo’s sources further claimed that after the January 31st deadline passed, the caretaker government gave another close deadline of mid-February for completing the reconstruction project of the Lahore Zoo and the Safari Park, costing a sum total of Rs 5 billion.

Politicians push for projects to be completed quickly so that they may claim credit for them and have their names added to the plate before the next government takes charge.

The reconstruction work is being unreasonably rushed with 70 per cent of the work already completed in the Lahore Zoo including the completion of the parking area, walkway, bridge over the lake, and the animal hospital with only a few areas including the lion’s enclosure, bear’s cage and reptile house still under construction.

Moreover, reportedly the Secretary of Forest and Wildlife Punjab has met with the officials of the Federal Ministry of Climate Change, including the DG Wildlife of the Lahore Zoo and Safari Park, requesting the federal government to issue permits for importing animals including elephants, pandas, and kangaroos from abroad, among a total of 146 wild animals that are being brought in from across the country.

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