February 1, 2019 8:08:11 am
AFTER FINDING no takers to implement its ambitious project for a cycling track along Marine Drive, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is on the verge of scrapping the project. Over the past few months, the civic body has failed to find any agency or contractor to run the project.
In December 2017, under its initiative for eco-friendly development and to encourage cycling enthusiasts, the BMC along with the Mumbai Police had started a cycling track of about 4 km from Nariman Point to Girgaum Chowpatty. Cyclists across the city were allowed to use this track on Sundays and alternate Saturdays from 6 am to 10 am. However, in April 2018, the track had to be shut after the BMC failed to find any group or agency to conduct the cycling events.
A senior official from the BMC said, “The firm Pedal Up along with Smart Commute Foundation and Handle Bar had discontinued conducting the event since April over some internal issues. After that, we invited tenders to run this cycling track once again, but got a poor response. Later, one agency approached us but they wanted advertising rights along with the contract. We were in negotiation but they backed out when we refused to give advertising rights. Now, over the past few months, no agency has shown interest. There is uncertainty over the project.”
The official added that there were several objections from the traffic department of the Mumbai Police about advertisements and barricades or bollards. “Many times, the traffic department cancelled the event due to VIP movement and events. It looks difficult to restart the project, so it might be scrapped.”
The project was the brainchild of Yuva Sena leader Aditya Thackeray with the plan originally entailing a cycling track from Nariman Point to Worli Seaface, a stretch of 11.2 km. Due to objections from the traffic department, the track was limited to the stretch between Nariman Point and Girgaum Chowpatty.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner of A ward (Churchgate, CSMT) Kiran Dighavkar said the BMC was unable to find an interested agency.
“We are not getting any response from agencies to restart the track. Those who had approached us to run the track wanted place for advertisements, but it is difficult as the civic body is also paying them. But there is a disagreement over this issue. We are exploring all options on how to go ahead on this,” added Dighavkar.
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