The hoardings of an upcoming zoo in Nagrota area on the outskirts of Jammu city have become a standing joke, mainly for people driving down this busy stretch of the national highway. Reason? Instead of showcasing pictures of animals, who are supposed to be the main attraction at the zoo, the hoardings only feature life-size pictures of ministers of the Jammu and Kashmir government.
Named after the Suryavanshi king Jambu Lochan who founded Jammu centuries ago, the work on Jambu Zoo was started by the Wildlife department in September this year. It is scheduled to be completed in four years at an estimated cost of around Rs 120 crore.
Presently the upcoming safari area, as visible from the road, is dotted by several zoo hoardings with pictures mainly of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Forest Minister Chowdhary Lal Singh.
Official sources say the government is “eager to showcase” pictures of its ministers along this busy route. “The ongoing construction of the zoo proved a blessing in disguise as it gave officials a valid reason to erect hoardings with pictures of ministers.”
Spread over 5,000 kanals of forestland in Khanpur area of Nagrota, the zoo will house a variety of wild animals including lions, tigers, leopards, elephants and monkeys.
But then, why are there no hoardings showcasing the animals who shall be the attraction of the zoo? “The project is in the starting stage. Once organised, we’ll put hoardings of all animals that we plan to have here,” Conservator of Forest Wildlife Dr VS Senthil Kumar told InUth.