Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday inspected the first modern Meghalaya Zoological Park at Umtrew, Ribhoi, to review the ongoing work at the site.

Once completed, the zoological park is expected to accelerate the flow of domestic and international tourists to the state. In 2019, the state recorded a footfall of 12.7 lakh tourist, and it is anticipated that the number would exceed 15 lakh by 2024. 

Covering an area of about 72 hectares, the total cost of the project which is located at Umtrew, is estimated at around Rs 35 Crore. Approximately Rs 21 Crore has been spent so far on the project. In October 2019, the foundation stone for the zoo was laid by Sangma. 

Sangma assessed the progress of the ongoing work at the State Zoo along with Forest Department officials. The first phase of the project includes construction of 15 animal enclosures, Visitor’s Plaza, Cafeteria, Veterinary Clinic, Feed Store, Main Gate, and so on. 

“It has been a very satisfactory visit for me today at the Meghalaya Zoological Park. The infrastructure would be ready for tourists soon. After the concerned clearances provided by Government of India, and Central Zoo Authority, we will open the gates for visitors,” Sangma said.

Animals at the zoo will include Barking deer, Sambar deer, Hog deer, Serow, Jackal, Fox, Himalayan black bear, Jungle cat, Civet cat, Leopard cat, Leopard, Clouded leopard, Hoolock gibbon, Stump tailed Macaque, and Assamese Macaque.

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He informed of the state government’s plan to create more tourism facilities such as trekking paths, ropeway, children’s park, interpretation center, and so on within the zoo premises to increase tourist footfall.

During the inspection, Sangma directed officials to complete all remaining works and procedural matters related to recognition of zoo from Central Zoo Authority (CZA) by June 30. He encouraged all officials to work tirelessly to make the project a possibility and further suggested that local or private parties should be engaged to run ancillary activities such as ticketing, Cafeteria, souvenir shop, food stall, vehicle services, and so on. 

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