While the wait for the re-inauguration of one of the most important theatres of the city, Dinanath Mangeshkar Natyagruha, continues, the cost of revamp has again escalated, this time by roughly Rs 1 crore, bringing the total cost of makeover to Rs 8.99 crore.
The standing committee has been cited cost variations as the reason for the new escalation, and the BMC has assured that the work should be completed by middle of August. The funds for the much-needed repairs to the theatre were originally sanctioned in 2007. However, the project has come a long way since then.
While the initial cost proposed for mending the structure was a modest Rs 1 crore in 2012, the price was escalated to Rs 8 crore in 2013, after suggestions from theatre artists and association to provide a complete makeover to the Vile Parle hall.
Under the new project, the civic body has planned to provide comfortable seating for entertaining 960 people, improve the green room for artists, and elevators for senior citizens the main audience for the theatre. The BMC is planning to inaugurate the new and improved theatre on August 15.
Shubha Patkar, corporator from K-East Ward, said, “The earlier plan was just to repair the ceiling that was leaking, and to get the walls painted. However, the beautification plan of the theatre has escalated the cost of the project. We hope to complete the work at the earliest and have decided a tentative date of inauguration as August 15. I am keeping a close track on the project.”
Devendra Amberkar, opposition leader in the BMC, however could not find any reason for increasing the cost of the project again. He said, “The repairs of the hall continue and the contractors have come up with a new cost variation. We cannot keep agreeing to everything. We understand it is for a good cause, but what is the need for adding another crore to the project?”
SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, said, “There were cost variations that had to be considered, which was brought to the notice of the standing committee members. The work is going on in full swing and should be completed by August.”