A day after one of the eight new Humboldt penguins died at Byculla Zoo, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided to appoint a new contractor to revamp the zoo.
Unhappy with the poor performance of the present contractor, hired to revamp the zoo at a cost of Rs 150 crore, the BMC will now issue fresh tenders. The present contractor will only build the penguin enclosure, which comprises 15-20% of the revamp plan.
In addition, the BMC is likely to appoint a third-party consultant to oversee the work done by the contractor.
“The work of the present contractor is abysmal. We are unhappy with the design and construction of the enclosure. The present contract will be terminated and a new contractor will be appointed to carry out the revamp,” said a senior civic official, who did not wish to be named.
A source said civic authorities have been unhappy with the present contractor for some time, as the project cost has been rising while the quality of work has been below average. “There have been many cost escalations and the contractor has never been able to justify these,” said an official.
The cost of the project, which was earlier estimated at Rs 460 crore, was curtailed to Rs 150 crore.
In January, HT had reported that the civic chief was unhappy with the cost escalation of the zoo revamp project and had ordered that unnecessary work be scrapped.
After the review, the BMC reduced the cost of the Penguin project from Rs 113 crore to Rs 63.58 crore.
The makeover of the zoo includes, apart from the Penguin project, designing and building an animal enclosure, a quarantine centre, a well-equipped zoo hospital and exploration centres. Animals such as a tiger, Asiatic lion, exotic fish and a zebra are to be brought in as part of the project.
The revamp of the 53-acre zoo has faced several obstacles. The pet project of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, it was planned nine years ago. However, the first phase of the project is yet to begin four years after a revised master plan was approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in New Delhi.