Bhubaneswar, Mar 23: Doubts have been raised over the non-plan expenditure in Nandankanan Zoological Park here on the city outskirts.
Nandankanan receives crores of rupees towards non-plan revenue. But, the utilisation of funds is not clear.
The entry ticket of the zoo has been raised twice in the last five years. In 2017, the price of ticket was hikede from Rs 25 to Rs 40. Later, it was raised to Rs 50 within a span of one year.
During 2015-16 financial year, revenue to the tune of Rs 8.56 crore was collected by the zoo authorities. It rose to Rs 9.67 crore in 2016-17, to Rs 14.10 crore in 2017-18, Rs 16.85 crore in 2018-19 and to over Rs 15 crore in 2019-20
Besides, the zoo has received funds from CAMPA, CZA and non-plan funds from the state government and the Centre.
On the other hand, the zoo authorities spend around Rs 28 crore per year. Five years ago, one 120 casual staff used to get their salary from non-plan funds. Now, they are paid salary from the department after their regularisation as government employees.
So, the non-plan funds are now being spent mostly on the construction of new enclosures and repair of roads. However, the main objective of the zoo has been relegated to oblivion.
“During last five years, no rare and endangered animals have been procured to the zoo from abroad spending non-plan funds,” said former president of Nandankanan employees’ union Antaryami Kuanr.
The zoo management is spending lakhs of rupees on clearance of weed from the Kanjia lake only on paper.
The misutilisation of non-plan funds has put the management under scanner. Financial irregularity in utilisation of non-plan funds has raised suspicion, said a zoo employee requesting anonymity.