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ZOO MAKEOVER CLEARED, TREES ESCAPE AXE

It’s a feel-good moment. The much-disputed Rs 430-crore makeover of the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan popularly known as Rani Baugh, the only zoo in the city, was on Thursday cleared by the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC). No trees will be cut down and the heritage structures on the 53-acre premises will be protected even as 25 new species of wildlife from three continents will be added to the zoo’s collection of 90 species. The masterplan proposes to replicate the animals’ natural habitat. The other highlights will be a glass enclosed restaurant that will offer a close view of cheetahs, a car park, 14-storeyed residential block for the staff, and a full-fledged hospital for the animals. According to additional municipal commissioner RA Rajeev, the second phase of the makeover will also focus on design and development of enclosures. And in a victory for people power, the makeover of the Five Gardens area has been modified to accommodate the wishes of the residents. So the playgrounds won’t be covered with concrete and the heritage character the area will be preserved. With cameraperson Roshan Hate, Hansraj Kanaujia for NMTV News.

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