A new battery-operated five-coach modern train with a capacity to accommodate 160 persons will soon replace the existing three-coach toy train at Nehru Zoological Park.
The move comes against the backdrop of growing concerns over pollution caused by the movement of vehicles inside zoo premises and its effect on animals and birds. Zoo officials have decided to replace the 20-year-old diesel train with a battery-powered one.
“We are in touch with Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) for the battery-operated train and are also enquiring about it with other zoos as well. We are also looking into the technicality of the train to be selected. The toy train has always been a major attraction for visitors, especially children. Therefore, we are looking for a train which suits in every aspect,” said curator of Zoo Park A Shankaran.
“Though we cannot say when the train would arrive in the zoo but efforts are being made to get it at the earliest,” he said.
The new toy train would be spacious enough to accommodate both adults and children. It would look like a chair car. The idea of introducing the new battery-operated toy train is to make the trip interesting for visitors, said another official of the zoo. “The battery operated trains are environment-friendly as they are smokeless and noiseless. Visitors would have a comfortable time while exploring the zoo,” he said.
Carrying forward its green initiatives and to make the zoo pollution-free and visitor-friendly the authorities had also decided to introduce ten more battery-operated cars in the zoo in addition to the already existing 15 vehicles, the official said.
The present battery-operated cars were not able to meet the growing demands of the visitors forcing the officials to acquire more cars. “Currently, the battery-operated cars are making around 100 trips of the zoo everyday but are not sufficient on rush days such as Sundays and holidays. Therefore, we are planning to introduce few more cars,” the official said.
On an average, 100-200 vehicles enter the park every day and their number will be around 500 during weekends and holidays. To discourage the use of vehicle in the zoo premises the authorities are planning to put up a bill-board outside the zoo asking the visitors to use battery operated cars instead of using their vehicles.
Last year about 27 lakh people visited the zoo and with addition of new animals this year the number is going to be much higher, a official estimated.
The zoo also provides bicycles to visitors at Rs 20 per hour fee. At present there are about 50 cycles in the zoo. An annual budget of `19.65 crore has been earmarked for the three zoos at Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati for the financial year 2013- 2014 for taking up developmental activities.