No new animals at Byculla zoo as Mumbai civic body delays contracts for enclosures
The BMC has delayed awarding contracts worth Rs 120 crore to build these animal enclosuresmumbai Updated: Sep 23, 2017 17:29 IST
Mumbaiites will have to wait a little longer to see animals such as Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, sloth bear, jackal and wolf at Byculla zoo, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has delayed awarding contracts worth Rs 120 crore to build these animal enclosures. It wants to first verify credentials of the bidders and check the documents they have submitted before the contracts can be awarded.
The BMC had to scrap an earlier contract given to Highway Construction, after it was revealed that the contractor submitted forged experience letters, claiming to have worked with an American firm specialising in handling aquatic life.
Director of Veermata Jijabai Udyan, Dr Sanjay Tripathi said, “There are four bidders for the second phase. They have submitted all documents but we want to ensure these documents are verified, only then will the contracts be awarded. That’s why the date of opening the bids packets of contractors was shifted forward from September 21 to September 27. Work on constructing 17 animal enclosures is set to begin by November, and is part of phase two of the zoo revamp project. It will then take at least two years to complete.
This is the second time the BMC floated tenders for the second phase, after scrapping Highway Construction’s contract last year. The earlier tender process received bidders, but municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta directed zoo officials to scrap the process, insisting that applicants have specific skill set and experience in zoo related work. A civic official said all applicants in the earlier tender process had experience in construction, but not in handling this specific work.
The BMC seems to take extra caution with contractors following it’s experience with Highway Construction, the contractor who constructed penguin enclosures. Highway construction was supposed to carry out the entire zoo revamp project, but its contract was scrapped after completion of the first phase. The BMC was unhappy with the firm as it delayed construction work of penguin enclosures, and submitted fake documents.