Museums, planetarium, zoos, national parks closed in Bengal

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Kolkata, May 4 (PTI) With the spike in COVID-19 cases, museums, planetarium, zoos, national parks have been closed in West Bengal to avert contamination.

The Alipore Zoological Gardens in the city had recorded 400 visitors on an average in April and only 150 people on April 30 before closing down indefinitely from May 1, Director Asis Samanta told PTI on Tuesday.

'As decided by the state government, all forest department run zoos in state, national parks and sanctuaries remain closed for public from May 1 till further notice. We had recorded over 1,000 visitors on an average in February which gradually went down to 400 in April with report of spread in infection,' Samanta said.

Director of M P Birla Planetarium and well-known astrophysicist Debiprasad Duari said the popular spot for students and others interested in cosmic world had to be closed since April 17 for fear of contamination of the pathogen despite taking all Covid control measures and reducing the audience capacity to one third.

The planetarium had been recording full houses in certain shows in December-February and the crowds started dwindling from March, he said.

Director of Science City and Indian Museum, Kolkata A D Choudhury said 'as per the Central government directive we have banned the entry of visitors into the compound and suspended shows since April 16 till May 15.' He said any future decision in this regard will be taken as directed by the Central government considering the situation.

West Bengal Chief Wildlife Warden V K Yadav told PTI quoting a notification by Additional Chief Secretary (Forest), 'Visitors are no more being allowed inside eco-tourism projects, conservation reserves, national parks and tiger reserves, run by the forest department since May 1.' The notification, however, allowed 'strictly regulated' entry of visitors inside parks and gardens under the department with strict COVID-19 protocols. PTI SUS RG RG