While Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has expressed his unwillingness to move into the new Mayoral bungalow inside the Byculla Zoo premises and demanded an official residence in South Mumbai, the civic body is going ahead with repairs to the Byculla house, with officials saying that they expect to invite tenders in the next fortnight.
Officials from the civic body said that their proposal to repair and renovate the Byculla bungalow had received the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee’s approval last month. “The committee has given approval for repairs to the ground-plus-one structure. Besides, it has also given approval for an additional 1,500 sq ft area near the existing bungalow to be included as part of the official mayoral bungalow,” said an official.
The civic administration has proposed the new mayoral bungalow in Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, known as Byculla Zoo.
The bungalow, along with the proposed addition, will measure approximately 5,600sqft, as against the existing area of 5,200 sq ft of the mayoral bungalow in Shivaji Park, Dadar. “We are awaiting an approval from the building and the proposal department, which is likely to come in the next few days. After that, we will seek the approval of the civic chief to invite tenders for it,” said the official.
On Monday, Mahadeshwar wrote to civic chief Ajoy Mehta demanding that two bungalows of the additional municipal commissioners at Malabar Hill be allotted to him instead. In the letter, he stated that his Byculla residence may attract criticism as the zoo is a silence zone. “It will disturb the environment in the zoo. Besides, activities after 6pm is prohibited in the area and it will create hurdles in organising many functions as a mayor. The small size of the bungalow will also make things difficult in meeting dignitaries and foreign delegates,” the letter stated, adding that parking would also be another issue.
Officials said that they would put up sound barriers on the boundary wall of the bungalow in the zoo. “For sound barriers, the heritage committee has given permission. So, there won’t any issue of disturbing the animals. Apart from shifting the security chowky to the main gate, the plan also involves a parking space near the bungalow for some vehicles,” explained the official.
However, Mahadeshwar said he has made his stand clear to the civic administration about the new bungalow. “I am not aware of the administration’s plan of inviting tenders. I have made my stand clear in the letter to the civic chief. My residence in the zoo may attract a case against me. So, it is with the administration to decide on it,” he said.