In a major setback to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum Trust, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled civic standing committee cut the budget for the museum from Rs 40 crore to Rs 15 crore in its recently amended budget for 2015-16.
The amended allocations were passed in the civic general body meeting last week.
“There was no need for Rs 40 crore to build a museum building. We decreased it to Rs 15 crore, as we think this much will suffice,” said Yashodhar Phanse, chairman, standing committee.
Even as he refused to reveal where the remaining funds will be diverted, a senior civic official said the money has been granted to corporators for development work.
Tasneem Mehta, director of the museum, was unavailable for comment.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had recently announced the construction of another museum building in the same compound.
The civic body has said the proposed structure would include a state-of-the-art gallery to host national and international exhibitions, an auditorium, an expanded library and a children’s centre, among other things. The work was expected to start in September 2016, with funding by the Bajaj Foundation Trust.
However, the civic body and the museum trust faced flak for their plan to construct the new structure on an adjacent playground.
Now, the civic body is finalising an alternative plot to construct a playground inside the zoo compound.
“There is a 7-acre plot inside the zoo compound that will see a planned development. A botanical garden and other landscape will come up on this plot, wherein a public playground can be considered too. We are working out a plan,” said Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner.
Last week, the museum was criticised for holding a fashion show allegedly without the permission of the civic body.