THE bungalow on the premises of the Byculla zoo, earlier offered by the municipal administration as the new official mayoral bungalow, will now accommodate either of the two additional municipal commissioners who have applied for it. While the decision on the allotment between the two IAS officers — A L Jarhad and Idzes Kundan — is yet to be made, the previous plans of expansion of the bungalow to turn it into the mayor’s residence have now been replaced by a tender for basic repair works. The tender was floated earlier this month.
Officials of the heritage department said that after the tender was closed on July 15, the BMC received responses from two contractors. “As per the revised plan, the work will involve repair of the roof and other structures, plastering, painting and polishing of the floors. Since the Mayor wasn’t keen on moving into the Byculla bungalow, we will no longer make any expansion to the existing structure,” said the official.
He added that as per the previous plan, the area of the 1930-built Byculla bungalow, which currently measures around 4,100 square feet, was to be expanded by another 1,500 square meters.
While Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta will make the final decision, civic officials said Kundan had applied for the bungalow last year. Jarhad applied more recently and is keen to move in as quickly as possible.
“Kundan had applied in August last year. However, after it was decided to convert it to the mayoral bungalow, her application was not considered. But then the mayor did not want to move in and Jarhad applied in June, the same month that he joined. He has been pushing to get the bungalow renovated so that he can move in,” said the official.
Almost four months ago, after the BMC had suggested the Byculla bungalow as the new residence for the mayor since the mayoral bungalow in Shivaji Park is expected to be converted into a memorial for Bal Thackeray. However, Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar wrote to Mehta, demanding that two bungalows in Malabar Hill, where additional municipal commissioners Sanjay Mukherjee and Pallavi Darade are residing, be allocated to him.
The impasse between Mahadeshwar and the civic administration continues as neither of his suggestions was accepted. As an alternative, civic officials have proposed that the mayor choose from properties owned by the BMC in the suburbs, or even pick a vacant municipal plot where a new bungalow can be constructed for the mayors of the city.
Since the cost of the work will amount to Rs 41 lakh, the project doesn’t need the clearance of the standing committee, which receives proposals worth Rs 75 lakh or above. Officials of the heritage department said that the work order for the tender will be issued in another week’s time and the renovation work is expected to be completed by the end of December.