150-year-old clock at Byculla Zoo stops within a year of repairs

The passage of time actually takes a toll on time itself, it seems. The clock that sits in the David Sassoon clock tower at Jijamata Udyaan or Byculla Zoo, has been inoperational for the last five days. It's going to be a week before the heritage clock ticks again since red tape seems to be at play.

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar 

The zoo authorities say that tenders had to be floated to invite parties that could repair the antique clock. The clock tower located at one of the entrances of the zoo boasts of Edwardian architecture, with glimpses of several other styles. Erected in 1864, it is 22 metres tall. The Grade II-B heritage structure is known to attract the attention of visitors who visit the zoo or the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum that sits within the same complex.

The clock runs on an old spring mechanism, making it difficult to maintain. Breaking down or slowing down often, it had last stopped in November 2014. The zoo authorities had a hard time finding the requisite spare parts before it was finally restored. "The previous maintenance contract has expired and we had to invite fresh tenders three weeks ago to finalise a new contractor.

In the meanwhile, the clock came to a stop but we didn't know what caused this," says Director of Jijamata Udyaan, Dr Sanjay Tripathi. Given the niche nature of the restoration work involved, only two bidders came forward, from which one was finalised. Dr Tripathi says repairs should wind up in a week, and the contractor will be responsible for maintaining the clock for the next three years against a fee of Rs 3 lakh. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Honorary Director of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, was travelling and unavailable for comment.

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