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  BMC scraps penguin contract with dubious firm

BMC scraps penguin contract with dubious firm

Published : Nov 8, 2016, 1:46 am IST
Updated : Nov 8, 2016, 1:46 am IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally scrapped its contract with the controversial firm Highway Construction, which was in charge of building the final enclosure to house seven Humb

File photo of the penguins at Byculla zoo.
 File photo of the penguins at Byculla zoo.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally scrapped its contract with the controversial firm Highway Construction, which was in charge of building the final enclosure to house seven Humboldt penguins for public viewing by November end. It has now floated two fresh tenders amounting to a total of Rs 110 crore to complete the remaining construction of enclosures.

The BMC had given three firms the contract for procurement and upkeep of the penguins, namely Goa Trade, Highway Construction, and Oceanis.

Of these, Highway Construction, which has experience only in road and civil works, had bagged a Rs 50 crore contract to construct penguin enclosures at the Byculla Zoo, because it claimed it had a joint agreement with an American firm SIVAT, which specialises in aquatic lives and aquaculture systems. However, it recently came to light that no such joint venture exists.

Deputy municipal commissioner, in charge of general administration, Sudhir Naik said, “Following this revelation, we realised Highway Construction cannot be trusted with any portion of the project. We have dropped the firm from the project and it will now be asked to complete construction of only the external portion of the enclosure.”

The BMC has now floated two tenders, one amounting to Rs 63 crore and another of around Rs 50 crore. Work will be allotted to new parties for construction of the core enclosure. Zoo director Sanjay Tripathi said, “The new contract will include building of 17 cage-like structures in two phases where penguins will be shifted for public viewing. The contract was originally given to Highway Constructions, but was withdrawn after the company allegedly lied about its joint venture with the American company.” When contacted, Romin Chheda, the in-charge of Highway Construction in Mumbai, said, “I am out of the country and can’t talk now.”