While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is notorious for stretching its deadlines beyond recognition, you’ve got to hand it to the developmental body for its spirit of impartiality. When it comes to interminable delays, the MMRDA makes no exceptions for its own buildings, which seem to suffer the same fate as many of its other projects in the city.
A case in point is the construction of MMRDA’s swanky new office building on a sprawling 1-lakh-sq-ft plot at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), which includes a podium plus nine floors. Construction work on the Rs 49 crore project was flagged off in 2009, with an expected deadline of 2011 end. The year 2011 has come and gone, as have 18 months in its wake, but the building is still far from complete.
In the mean time, the project’s cost incurred so far has shot up by a staggering Rs 31 crore, touching Rs 80 crore. It will rise further, as more work is completed. Even as 2013 hurtles towards its culminating months, just the outer structure of the building is ready, with the interiors untouched so far.
A source from MMRDA said, requesting anonymity, “As per the contract, the actual duration for completion of the project was 24 months. However, after the construction started, the MMRDA realised that it had to apply for environmental clearance, as the building was near the creek.”
The clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) came only in 2011. The deadline had to be deferred further when changes had to be made to the design, to ensure thestability of the structure. “The consultants suggested some changes, and this caused more delay,” confirmed the source.
“While the building is completely ready from outside, a lot of interior work is left to be completed -- this includes plumbing, painting and fitting of doors and furniture. More importantly, the work of wiring is also pending, which may further delay the project. Because of the delay in construction, there has been an escalation in the project cost by Rs 31 crore, ” he said.
Questioned about the delay, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, “I would only like to say that the building is completely ready and by the end of the year, the office will be ready.”
Once its doors are thrown open, the building will staff around 700 employees of the planning authority, 200 more than the capacity of the present office building.
Rs 31 cr The amount by which the project cost has escalated
18 Months by which the project has been delayed