The Byculla zoo revamp, a Rs 150-crore project envisioned in 2007 which finally began in 2015, will now be further delayed by nearly one year, as the new tender is yet to be opened. The project has been mired in controversies, the latest being the death of a penguin at the zoo.
“If the tenders are finalised within two months i.e. before the code of conduct, then the work can be expected to be on time. If not, the revamp work will be pushed to March 2017 only after civic election results,” said a civic official, on the condition of anonymity.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had planned to open the first phase, which was to be completed by December, that included the display of penguins and a marine aquarium for exotic fishes. However, with death of one of the eight penguins,the display will start only by the end of November.
The civic body had also planned to start with the construction of 10 enclosures for animals, but are yet to begin.
Meanwhile, officials from the Bombay Veterinary College will visit the zoo again on Wednesday to inspect the health of other penguins.
The zoo houses about 130 odd animals and 300 odd birds at present, and had welcomed its new entrants – Humboldt penguins in July. It had also planned to procure jackasl, wolves, leopards, Madras turtles and other species in its first phase of the revamp plan, which has now been pushed further until a new contractor is appointed.
Unhappy with the sluggish and poor quality work of the contractor, BMC has now decided to open fresh tenders for the project.
The present contractor will only build the penguin enclosure, which constitutes 15-20% of the revamp plan.
The exotic fish, tiger and Asiatic lion will also be brought after two more years in its second phase, said civic officials. While the procurement of eight penguins was done internationally, none of the animals to be placed in Byculla zoo in the future will be imported. Instead, the procurement will be through exchange programmes from various parts of the country.