|The Kozhikode block panchayat has hailed the allocation of ₹3 crore in the State Budget for the proposed 15-acre aquatic biopark at Olavanna even as work on the project is expected to begin by the end of February.|
The project, which envisages the setting up of facilities to conserve rare and endangered aquatic plant species, was conceived with the help of the Malabar Botanical Garden and the Institute of Plant Science.
Block panchayat president N. Manoj Kumar said the allocation came as a big surprise as the panchayat had been planning to start work on the project on its own by mobilising ₹25 lakh from its own fund.
The site, located around 7 km away from Kozhikode city, is sure to become a tourist attraction, he hoped.
Along with the conservation of endangered aquatic plant species, the proposed biopark on the land of the Malabar Botanical Garden will have a museum complex, medicinal plant gardens, and a collection of precious terrestrial plants. It will also have a 5.6-acre artificial lake with mangrove parks, landscaped grounds, small man-made islets, and a valley named Hortus Malabaricus.
Phase-I by 2020
“The e-tendering procedures are now in the final phase, and work will begin by the end of this month. We hope to complete the first phase of the project by 2020,” said Mr. Manoj Kumar.
He hoped that the whole project could be completed using the fund that had already been sanctioned.
For the block panchayat, the aquatic biopark comes as an opportunity to highlight the cause of environment protection and wetland conservation among the student community. Panchayat officials said that the facility would be projected as a model across the State for effective conservation of wetlands, aquatic species, and the creation of sustainable livelihood of people around the area.