The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to overrule the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) and go ahead with the Byculla Zoo makeover plan.
The Rs 430-crore plan has been languishing with the MHCC for it approval for close to two years now.
It the last meeting on the zoo makeover plan the MHCC had raised several objections regarding the proposed plan, forcing the project back to the drawing board.
The objections made by MHCC were mainly concerning the botanical status of the garden and that a balance needs to be achieved between the existing green space and modernising zoo.
The project was discussed in the group leaders meeting on Wednesday. Shraddha Jadhav however said, “We will overrule the MHCC for the sake of visitors and tourists come to see zoo. The zoo is in a bad shape and needs immediate repairs.”
The MHCC is merely an advisory body to the Municipal Commissioner on heritage and related issues, the Municipal Commissioner can over-ride the committee decision.
“We are not in a position to accept the project in its current form. We have written to the administration asking for a new layout with a few recommendations,” Dinesh Afzulpurkar, Chairman of the MHCC had said.
“We will try to resolve all the concerns of the MHCC ,but if it delays the prosposal further then over rulling might be a possibility,”said a senior civic official.
Following the rigidness the MHCC is showing towards the project the administration will be overriding the committee as due to the delay in the implementation of the project the cost is also escalating.
This would be a historic decision as earlier in 2007; the civic body had overruled MHCC which was objecting in construction of public toilet near CST railway station. The civic body however went for signature campaign of common people and constructed toilet.
However officials from the civic body said that if the heritage committee doesn’t give its nod, the approval of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) will no longer be valid.
“The CZA nod is in conjuncture with the heritage committee approval. If they administration plans to override the committee they will have to go back to the CZA for approval,” said a source.
Mayor also said that delaying the project would also cost escalation in future. Rs 70 crore has been kept aside for 2010-11 budgets.