The BMC spent Rs7 crore on designs and maps for the Byculla zoo makeover, but most of this money was wasted: the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has cancelled many of the provisions in the designs.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) paid a Thailand-based company, HKS Designer and Consultancy, Rs7 crore for drawing up maps and designs for the makeover plan. The drawings include detailed designs of the cheetah restaurants, night safari, murals depicting 7 continents and also each enclosure in the new zoo. Most of these elements are now discarded after opposition from activists reduction in the funds.
The zoo makeover was first envisioned in 2007 and has still to take off due to heritage permission and clearance from the CZA. Currently, work continues on the interpretation centre — a building to guide visitors on the various features in the zoo — and is expected to reach completion by the end of the year.
“The designs that the consultants made were very detailed and have a lot of information on how a particular enclosure would look after the makeover. These maps were tabled before the heritage committee and the CZA for their approval,” said a civic official.
The maps had to be re-designed on several occasions and also re-drawn at times when the heritage committee asked for more details on the project.
Fancy elements like the 3-D theme park, Kangaroo Park have also been dropped: the focus of the makeover will now be to upgrade the condition of the animals and to make the enclosures more spacious.
The planning and design department says the cost increased as the maps were made using specialised software and the consultant outsourced the job of designing.
“We will use the same maps for the bird park that we are planning at Powai. Since the scope of work of the project has considerably reduced we are also proposing to slash the consultancy fee of the consultant,” said additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta.
The estimated cost of the original makeover plan was Rs480 crore, which has now been slashed to Rs150 crore by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar.
The lone zoo in the city is in a miserable state due to the poor conditions of the animals. In 2010, 55 animals died in the zoo as against 24 in 2009.