GUWAHATI, July 8 - Anguished at the state of affairs at the Assam State Zoo, conscious citizens residing in its vicinity have come together to protect and promote the same which is in urgent need of a facelift.
Over 160 people attended a convention held at a school near the zoo gate today.
The meeting resolved to form a zoo protection forum, which, as a first step, would draft a memorandum and submit it to the State Government.
�Inmates are dying of lack of proper food and medical facilities. One tiger died a week back and another is in its death bed. No animal suffering from any disease survives,� general secretary of the Zoo Protection Forum Rajkumar Baishya told The Assam Tribune.
He said the cages are constructed unscientifically and funds meant for developing the zoo not properly utilised. �The cage of the greater adjutant stork is smaller than the bird. It hardly fits into it. There is no expert committee to oversee the development plans meant for the zoo. Cages are constructed, but after sometime, they become unusable. In this way, a lot of public money is being wasted,� he said, adding that today�s convention strongly condemned the silence of the government over the graft going on in the facility in the name of development activities.
The convention demanded a high level inquiry into the alleged instances of zoo fund misappropriation.
�The meeting also condemned the destruction of forest cover of the zoo and illegal encroachment of the zoo land for construction of shops and houses,� Baishya said.
The convention also demanded an inquiry into the incidents of theft of elephant tusks, reptiles, etc., from the zoo and exemplary punishment to the guilty.
�There are also allegations of irregularities in the issuance of tickets to visitors. We demand that the procedure be computerised to plug the gaps,� Baishya added.
He said as several portions of zoo walls are damaged, inmates like deer often come out to human habitats, thereby risking their safety.
The DFO of the zoo also attended the convention.