A world-class zoo will come up near the Statue of Unity in Gujarat's Narmada district before the end of October next year, said a senior official on Sunday.
Rajiv Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary and Managing Director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited, said the zoo, as well as river rafting facilities, are part of a plan to make Kevadiya, where the statue is situated, a major tourist attraction.
"Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated a river rafting sports facility at Khalvani near the Statue of Unity on Saturday," Gupta told the press.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also inspected the ongoing work pertaining to the 'Jungle Safari':
The zoo will be developed across 1,300 acres over seven levels and will have lions, tigers, leopards, 12 types of deer and antelopes, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, bisons, and other exotic animals, Gupta informed.
"Setting up the Sardar Patel Zoological Park is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wish to develop this region as a major tourism hub. He had expressed this while inaugurating the Statue of Unity last year," Gupta said.
The official said the Central Zoo Authority had given in-principle approval to the plan. He informed that 19 lakh tourists have so far visited the world's largest statue, a memorial to Sardar Patel, since it was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on October 31 last year. The SoU is situated over 100 kilometers away from Vadodara. Meanwhile, Gujarat is expecting the tourist inflow to cross six crores in the current fiscal year, an official had said. The official also stated that the western state which is "focusing on attracting foreign tourists" will come out with a heritage tourism policy soon.