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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Gateway: 6 months as costs rise

Rubble and incomplete structures will continue to adorn the city’s iconic landmark,the Gateway of India,in coming months.

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai |
January 29, 2009 1:20:04 am

Rubble and incomplete structures will continue to adorn the city’s iconic landmark,the Gateway of India,in coming months. After a two-year delay,the beautification of Mumbai’s famous landmark is now expected to drag on for another eight-ten months,owing to cost escalation and difficulties in getting sanction from the Centre.

The beautification work,initially estimated to cost Rs 4.99 crore,was expected to be completed in six months. It has now seen a cost escalation of Rs 1.16 crore,raising the total cost to Rs 6.15 crore. The work had first begun in April 2006,but has seen innumerable delays in the past two years.

Senior officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said the repairs have seen a cost escalation and the Ministry of Environment and Forest has to clear the spending of the additional amount as the Grade I heritage structure is located in the Coastal Regulation Zone I. The cost was earlier brought down to Rs 4.99 crore to avoid the Central approval. Projects in CRZ worth less than Rs 5 crore do not need the approval of the Central Government. They said the original cost — for construction of toilets,food plaza,gardening-landscaping and pavements — was around Rs 7 crore.

Officials said a proposal has been sent to the state Government,to be forwarded to the Union Government to allow an additional expenditure of Rs 1.16 crore. “The proposal is lying with the state Government. The work won’t be completed before the end of the year,” an official said.

Once the Union Ministry clears the proposal, the civic standing committee will approve the additional funds.

Architect P K Das said there have been certain modifications and sanctions are being taken. The project has already missed three deadlines for its inauguration. The revised parking plan for tourists in the Gateway precincts is also expected to delay the project.

The beautification plan was,in fact,delayed right from its inception when architects struggled to finalise the best plan. The plan for area surrounding the heritage structure in the Colaba area was first mooted eight years ago. Later,the Urban Design Research Institute,architect Charles Correa,INTACH and Das competed for the design and the latter was selected. The project is the first phase of the development of the precinct,which will later include beautification from the Radio Club to the Regal cinema.

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