Jungle Safari under financial crunch as tourists decline

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Oct 2018 11:02:26


 

Staff Reporter,

RAIPUR,

The initial hype around Asia’s biggest Jungle Safari is slowly whittling away, thereby decreasing the profit down to around 60 per cent with a decline in tourists.
Jungle Safari at Naya Raipur had a lot of craze when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated it in 2016. Tourism boomed as people from faraway places thronged to watch the animals roaming free in wide open enclosures. There were also some days when tourists had to return dejected without getting a chance to tour around due to over-crowding.


However, presently the average tourists reaching every day stand around 550. In the current year, around 1, 34, 744 tourists reached Jungle Safari, averaging around 16843 per month and 561 per day. Tourist population has slid from 31,398 in January to 11,569 in August.
Revenue has dropped down by 40 per cent from Rs 53, 64, 000 in January to Rs 20, 51, 200 in April whereas in July-August, revenue amounted to Rs 23 lakhs.


Situated at around 34 kilometres from the Raipur city, Safari Management only allows one couple of tiger or lion in the open a day. So, most of the time, these animals are extremely difficult to spot and the tourists with high hopes of watching the majestic predators roaming freely feel disappointed.


While the revenue has reduced drastically, maintenance and food expenses have only gone upwards. Over Rs 30 lakh are needed every month on maintenance, conveying the tourists around the safari, the salary of employees and food for animals. Vehicles carrying the visitors consume diesel worth about Rs 8 to 9 lakh monthly and a similar amount is spent on payment of salaries.


In 2018, monthly tourists footfall is recorded at 31,398 in January, 16415 in February, 13,304-March, 10,236 in April, 18,418-May, 21, 602-June, 11802-July, 11, 569-August whereas the income generated during January was Rs 53,64,050, February-Rs 29,02,600, March-Rs 26, 55,000, April-Rs 20,51,200, May-Rs 35,90,100, June-Rs 41,89,050, July 23,12,400 and in August-Rs 22,66,800.


Meanwhile, a senior official at the helm of Jungle Safari’s affair, on the condition of anonymity, told The Hitavada they can only keep Blue Bull, Sambhar, Spotted Deer, Black Buck, Barking Deer and Gaur, bear, tigers and lion in open enclosures as per the terms and conditions set by the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA).


Presently, they are trying to acquire Gaur from other states in exchange. They also recently acquired Hippos, which are kept at the Zoo. Even Himalayan Bears are accommodated at the Zoo, which is still under development due to lack of fund. The estimated cost to develop a fully-fledged Zoo is about Rs 226 crores whereas they have only got Rs 78 crores. Now, that the election code of conduct has come to an effect, the fate of Zoo hangs in balance.