A bird park at Powai on the lines of Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. That’s the latest idea Mayor Shraddha Jadhav is dreaming of after returning from Singapore on Friday.
“It will be an icon for Mumbai. There is a municipal corporation garden at Powai which can be converted into such a park,” she told Hindustan Times.
The garden, along the Powai lake and once a famous picnic spot for Mumbaiites, is currently not in use.
But it’s not clear whether the cash-strapped civic body will fund the project or it will be handed over to a private company.
Activists say that politicians have the habit of going abroad and importing impractical ideas. “They announce grandiose plans, but never complete them,” an activist said, requesting anonymity.
R.S. Pillai, a social activist said, “Several ideas such as Byculla zoo makeover, underwater aquarium, monorail, wax museums and even dedicated bus lanes have been inspired from projects abroad. However, all of them may not work here given the governance set-up, crowd and social structure.”
Civic activist GR Vora said, “Once you announce these fancy plans, they are followed by feasibility studies and lakhs of public money is wasted. The elected representatives should first improve the existing infrastructure in Mumbai and then think of such wild ideas.”
The group leaders and the mayor who visited Singapore were also fascinated by the way they treat sewage water to potable water and use it for drinking purpose and also wish to replicate the same in Mumbai.
“The Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project- II which the BMC has planned since the last two years is meant to treat sewage water, but the project has been on the back burner due to lack interest. Why can't they take interest in the projects that are stuck,” said a civic official.
They have proposed to set up an off shore desalination plant on a barge, on the lines of the plant in Singapore.
“Setting up the desalination plant on a barge will take two years, the civic body should consider the option,” said Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale.
A team of government officials recently visited the US and now wants to build an amusement park on the lines of Disneyland near Alibaug.
Earlier this week, some civic officials went to Singapore to study a water recycling plant there and then replicate the same in Ghatkopar and Versova.
Jadhav, however, was positive on this project and said, “If we take a decision and pursue it willingly, all such projects will see the light of the day. I ensure that this one [bird park] is completed on time.”
Jadhav also said that she would make an adequate provision for the project soon. “I have worked out some basic details. Initially, it was thought that this project could be implemented at the Byculla zoo, but there are a lot of complications there. Hence, now the project will come up at Powai, where the existing 5 acre garden, can easily be converted into a bird park,’ she added.
Aparna More, an avid trekker with BNHS and a horticulturalist welcomed the decision, but said the government has neglected the bird sanctuary at Karnala and they should take steps to revive that too.