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Ambedkar memorial: CM says work to start in a month, but firm not finalised yet

The delays in the project have resulted in constant cost-escalations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had performed “bhoomipoojan” for the project in October 2015, after which the cost was estimated to be Rs500 crore.

mumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2017 19:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Ambedkar memorial,CM Devendra Fadnavis,firm
The delays in the project have resulted in constant cost-escalations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had performed “bhoomipoojan” for the project in October 2015, after which the cost was estimated to be Rs500 crore. (FILE)

While chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday announced that work on the Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills will begin in a month, the authorities are yet to decide on awarding the project.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) - the nodal agency implementing the project - had asked for a justification from the single bidder who showed interest in the project on the cost escalation two weeks ago. The Shapoorji Pallonji group - the single bidder despite calling for tenders twice - has quoted 26% above the estimated cost by MMRDA.

This means the project cost would go beyond Rs700 crore, as the MMRDA had estimated the cost at Rs622 crore by the end of June.

The delays in the project have resulted in constant cost-escalations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had performed “bhoomipoojan” for the project in October 2015, after which the cost was estimated to be Rs500 crore.

Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA said, “We have asked for a justification from the bidder on the cost escalation which we are yet to receive.”

Officials said even if work orders are given immediately, the contractor will take about a month to mobilise resources for the huge project.

On Wednesday, Fadnavis made the announcement at Chaityabhoomi after paying tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his death anniversary.

The Congress party slammed Fadnavis on his statements on Wednesday. Sanjay Nirupam, Congress Mumbai unit president said Fadnavis made these claims owing to the impending Gujarat election. He said, “PM Narendra Modi performed bhoomipoojan for the project two years ago and still no work has started on-ground. The chief minister has lied that it will be done in a month. They are just politicising the project.”

The design for the memorial, to be constructed on 12 acres of land at Indu Mills in Dadar, includes a 350-foot statue of Dr Ambedkar, a library, a replica of the historic Chavdar pond in Raigad, a number of viewing points for the memorial, and a parking lot. The memorial will be a stone’s throw away from Chaityabhoomi, where his ashes were interred.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 19:35 IST