Famous for nothing, the Indian city of Jamnagar will soon have something to brag about. The Ambani family, the wealthiest in the country , has announced the construction of a zoo and animal shelter of unprecedented proportions there. This initiative, despite being no more than a project, has already provoked the rejection of NGOs and protectors, who are suspicious of a clan more famous for its attachment to gold than to nature.
In this coastal town of half a million inhabitants, belonging to the western province of Gujarat, the center will be built, baptized as Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Kingdom . The 1,130 square kilometer enclosure – equivalent to twice the surface of Madrid – will host more than a hundred species from every corner of the planet, according to local media. Its doors will open in 2023, but the controversy has arisen early,
This has been unleashed as a result of the arrival of its first tenants: two black panthers from Guwahati, on the other side of the country, in exchange for as many zebras loaned for the family. The zoo in this second city is the only one that raises the precious felines, which it uses as a bargaining chip to expand its animal repertoire. Last year, for example, they bartered for an ostrich with Mysore and a giraffe with Ranchi. But this time the activists have not been amused that they become part of the Ambani private park.
Last Sunday, about a hundred protesters gathered outside the gates of Guwahati Zoo to express their rejection of the exchange. "It seems that not even captive wild animals can escape the tentacles of large corporations," reproached Bobbeeta Sharma, leader of the local Assam Pradesh Congress Committee party, through a statement shared with local media. Despite the protests, the panther couple already belongs to this new fledgling center, a project led by Anant Ambani, youngest son of the patriarch, Mukesh Ambani.
Mukesh is also the son of Dhirubhai Ambani , a humble wool merchant who In the mid-1960s he founded Reliance, a small polyester products company that would grow into a colossal conglomerate. After his death in 2002, his two children began a bitter battle to inherit the empire that would only come to an end three years later, thanks to the Solomonic intervention of his mother. The eldest son, Mukesh, stayed with the industrial branch and the youngest, Anil, with telecommunications. However, those sectors that Mukesh did not receive by inheritance he took by commercial assault.
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Reliance is today the first company in India by capitalization stock market and profits. Its annual revenues exceed 72,500 million euros and its branches reach all types of industries, thanks to the diversification promoted by Mukash. In the middle of last year, it made more than 16.5 billion euros after selling a third of Jio, the country's main telecommunications company, to various investors including Google and Facebook. This allowed him to rise to the sixth position on the Forbes list, the first Asian to be placed among the ten richest people in the world. Since then it has fallen to 21st place with assets valued at € 66.4 billion. His brother Anil, on the other hand, barely owns 1,400 million euros.
Reliance's good progress finances the life of luxury for which the family is known, whose members move in the most exclusive circles of the world elite. His daughter Isha's wedding in 2018 was attended by celebrities Hillary Clinton, Google CEO Sundar Pinchai or actress Priyanka Chopra and an exclusive performance by Beyoncé. It was then rumored that the link, celebrated over several days in various cities around the world, had a total cost of 80 million euros, although the family set it at "less than 12".
There is no greater symbol of the Ambani opulence than their home: the Antilia tower , whose irregular geometric shapes stand out on the heights of Bombay. Built in 2012, it has 27 floors spread over 173 meters high, more than 37,000 square meters, three helipads, a garage with space for 168 cars, 9 elevators, gardens, swimming pools, a theater, a spa, a temple and even a snow room; all this managed by a staff of 600 workers. Valued at 1.8 billion euros, it is the second most expensive residential complex in the world, only behind Buckingham Palace. The zoo, in a couple of years, will be in Jamnagar.