The project to set up a world-class aquarium at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo at Byculla has been scrapped by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Civic officials confirmed that the tender process that was started in the last week has now been cancelled.
The BMC, had on June 11, announced its plans to set an international standard aquarium at the zoo. The estimated cost of the project was pegged around Rs 44 crore. As per the plan, the aquarium would have been set up over an area of about 600 sq mtrs, near the penguin exhibit. The tender process for the project had been initiated; however, the BMC administration scrapped the project on Friday. Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, "The aquarium project at the Byculla zoo has been cancelled, since a bigger project of a world-class aquarium is coming up at the Worli Dairy.”
Earlier, controversial tenders worth Rs 291 crore for the construction of new animal enclosures in the zoo were scrapped by the BMC in May, following allegations of cartelisation and cost escalation. "When an aquarium project is already undertaken at Worli Dairy, why spend crores of rupees for a similar project. It's good that the BMC has realised their mistake and hence saved taxpayers' money,” former Opposition leader in the BMC, Ravi Raja said.
The state government is working on its ambitious project of an international tourism complex and world-class aquarium at Worli. The project, spread across 14.55 acres at the Worli Dairy complex, off the Worli Seaface, is expected to cost Rs 1,000 crore and would be the first of its kind in India. The deadline for the project is December 2023. The BMC will also be a part of this project, said the civic officials.
Meanwhile, after the reopening of schools in the city, the crowd at the Byculla zoo has now declined. The zoo recorded a footfall of more than 4 lakh visitors, with a revenue of around Rs 1.50 crore in May. It is being visited by around 30,000 on weekends. However, this Saturday saw 9,985 visitors, while 15,505 people visited the zoo on Sunday.