Tourists will soon be able to enjoy various theme-based jungle safaris at the Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park in Nagpur, said to be the largest in India, which was inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday.
Taking note of a protest staged here by various tribal organisations demanding a change in the name of the international zoological park, the chief minister announced setting up of 'Gondwana Theme Park' portraying the culture and history of the Gond tribe under the Gorewada project.
"There is no needy to worry over the name of the park.
The government will name a theme park (under Gorewada project) as Gondawna theme park, which will portray tribal culture and history.
"I want to say to the tribal community that you are talking about renaming this park, but I will set up 'Gondwana Theme Park' here showcasing the culture and history of Gond tribals, so that tourists from across the globe can visit this place and understand the culture of the Gonds. This is our culture and history," Thackeray said.
As per the state government, the Gorewada zoological park is the largest such park in India covering an area of more than 564 hectares. Combined with Gorewada rescue centre for animals, and Gorewada Reserve, the park area expands to more than 1,914 hectares.
Alleging that the Vidarbha region in eastern Maharashtra was neglected before (by previous governments), the chief minister, who also heads Shiv Sena, said the MVA government in the state will usher in development in the region.
"We have a blood relation with Vidarbha. No one should try to teach us love for Vidarbha. Some people are spreading misinformation about us (Shiv Sena), and this (campaign) will end now. Projects like Surjagadh (Gadchiroli) can change the face of the entire vidarbha. I want to pave the way for the development of Vidarbha," he said in an apparent jibe at the BJP.
We will take Maharashtra forward by working together, the CM said.
The Indian Safari, a major component of the zoological park, is now ready for public.
The Indian Safari consists of leopard safari, sloth bear safari, tiger safari and herbivore safari.
Seven leopards have been shifted to Gorewada with the approval of the Central Zoo Authority, while the sloth bear safari will have six sloth bears, 14 nilgais and 4 chitals.
Tourists can book tickets through online as well as offline mode, officials said.
Visitors will be taken to safari in air-conditioned buses with broad glass windows. Besides, ancillary facilities like cafeteria, buses, spacious parking area, selfie points etc are also made available.
The Central Zoo Authority has also approved the master plan for the phase 2 which includes African safari consisting of zebras, lions, elephants etc, besides a night zoo, a bio park etc. These facilities will be developed in coming years, according to the officials.