Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the country's first and biggest 'walk-through' aviary at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, as part of the Republic Day festivities, here on Sunday.
Spread over 18,200 sq.ft and 44 ft (or a five-storey building) high, the aviary will house over 100 species of rare, exotic and common birds, living their natural environs.
There is a separate enclosure for aquatic birds, and more birds shall be added on gradually, said a BMC spokesperson.
A small bridge also passes through the aviary which will be opened for the public to walk through and view the birds at close quarters.
The VJBUZ also boasts of 17 special enclosures for animals like bears, hyenas, leopards, foxes, Madras Pond Turtles, Barasingha, antelopes, etc., has India's first air-conditioned enclosure for Humboldt Penguins, besides plans to add sections for the Asiatic Lion, tigers and another bird enclosure.
Thackeray also laid the foundation stone for a new flyover connecting Saat Rasta to Haji Ali which will drastically cut down the travel time from the existing one hour to barely 10 minutes.
This will be a first-ever 'cable-stayed' 803-metres long flyover to be constructed within three years at a cost of Rs 390 crore.
The Chief Minister also laid the foundation for another flyover linking Saat Rasta with Dr. E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, passing via the famous Dhobighat, to decongest traffic on Mahalaxmi Bridge and towards Worli naka.
The flyover will be 638 metres long and cost Rs 118 crore with BMC planning to make it operational in three years.
Thackeray launched the first of the 64 forestation projects by the 'Miyawaki' method, at Bhakti Park in Wadala on Sunday, on a 2.50 acres plot.
The 'Miyawaki' method implying maximum trees in minimum area to increase bio-diversity and the city's green cover which will be implemented at 64 locations with 40 types of local or other trees to create lush green forests amid the city's concrete jungle.