Although the election for the post of mayor is 12 days away, the BMC is yet to start repair and reconstruction work on the bungalow at Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan — a zoo and garden in Byculla — which will be the new mayoral residence. Civic authorities said that the mayor, who will be chosen on March 9, may have to move into the bungalow in Shivaji Park for a couple of months until the bungalow in Byculla is ready.
Last month, the state government had announced its decision to convert the Mayoral bungalow in Shivaji Park into a memorial for former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and had issued an ordinance to that effect. The sprawling bungalow, which is listed as a heritage structure, will be restructured. The newly designated official bungalow of the mayor in Byculla, which was earlier occupied by Aseem Gupta, principal secretary of the rural department, is in a poor condition and in need of major repairs.
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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has allocated funds worth Rs 2 crore for the work, which is yet to start. The entrance to the zoo has temporarily been shifted to the gate near the bungalow. The space in front of the bungalow is a popular picnic spot for visitors.
Civic officials pointed out that it will take a few months to complete work on the structure. “The pre-repair work including cleaning and moving out the furniture is being done now, after which the repair work will begin. It will take at least three months for the work and the new mayor may have to move into the bungalow in Shivaji Park tilL then, since there is no other temporary option,” said the official. In September, the state had formed a public trust for the proposed memorial for Bal Thackeray and the BMC had decided to move the official mayoral residence to the Byculla bungalow.
Civic officials said that the property in Shivaji Park is yet to be handed over to the trust. “The improvements committee had given its nod to the proposal just before the code of conduct was declared in January. However, the general body has to grant its approval as well and in all likelihood, the proposal will be placed before the new general body,” said a senior official.