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Monday, December 06, 2021

BMC again extends term of agency for maintenance of Byculla zoo penguin enclosure

Officials said the earlier maintenance contract had expired and BMC was awarding an extension as the three-year tender was delayed after opposition corporators objected.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
November 15, 2021 8:58:02 pm
With the new tender under review and to avoid giving continuous extension to the existing contractor, the BMC has floated a tender worth Rs 35 lakh for the upkeep of penguins for a month. (Express photo)

With the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration reviewing the Rs 15-crore tender for maintenance of Byculla zoo’s penguin enclosure for three years following opposition from corporators, the existing agency’s term has been extended for the second time since October.

The contract had been awarded to M/s Highway Constructions for Rs 11.5 crore in September 2018 for three years for the upkeep of the penguin enclosure. After the contract expired on September 30 this year, the BMC provided a Rs 45-lakh extension to the contractor for 43 days, starting October 1.

As the first extension expired on November 12, the BMC has now given a second extension to the agency, until a new contractor is appointed. The BMC has not yet disclosed the term of the extension and the amount to be paid.

Officials said the earlier maintenance contract had expired and BMC was awarding an extension as the three-year tender was delayed after opposition corporators objected. The official said the contract will have to be extended until the new contractor is appointed.

“We don’t have a choice. Until a new agency is appointed, we will have to provide an extension to the existing agency so that there is no hiccup in maintenance of the penguin enclosure,” said a civic official.

The extension proposal is tabled before the statutory standing committee for information, scheduled to be held on Thursday

In August this year, BMC floated a tender worth Rs 15.26 crore for the upkeep of the penguins and their enclosure at Byculla zoo for the next 36 months. Objecting to the development, the BJP and Congress said the costs had been inflated and slammed the BMC for failing to create an in-house management system for the upkeep of the penguins.

In a letter dated September 6, the BJP had asked the mayor and standing committee chairman to cancel the contract and said that the staff already available with the zoo should be roped in to take care of the penguins.

Following this, the three-year tender is under administrative scrutiny.

With the new tender under review and to avoid giving continuous extension to the existing contractor, the BMC has floated a tender worth Rs 35 lakh for the upkeep of penguins for a month. The money will be spent on maintenance and air-conditioning of the penguin enclosure, life support and electrical system. It will also cover the cost of veterinary staffers and supply of fish food for penguins,” the official said.

As part of its revamp project, Byculla zoo had bought over eight penguins on July 26, 2016, for Rs 45 crore. While one of the penguins died after two months, others were put on public display in an enclosure in March next year. The zoo welcomed two penguin chicks this year — the latest addition being a chick born on August 19.

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