It seems that since he assumed the seat of power as the city’s mayor in March, Sunil Prabhu has set his priorities thus: to begin with, he promptly changed the seating arrangement in his office to look west, so as to propitiate the Vastu Shastra gods. While that took care of his office space, the mayor seems to have opted out of such a quick fix when it comes to the prestigious mayor’s bungalow in Dadar that will be his residence during the tenure.
According to sources, Prabhu is yet to move into the bungalow, despite having held the post for the last three months now, as he has requisitioned for renovation work worth Rs 2.5 lakh in the residence before he crosses the threshold. According to officials from BMC’s city engineering department, the renovation work has been going on for the past month at the mayor’s bungalow.
“It’s not heavy renovation work, but at intervals of 4-5 years, repair and maintenance work needs to be carried out. We have been painting the walls, re-tiling and repairing the bathrooms, as the bungalow is quite old,” informed an official on condition of anonymity. He added mentioned that the entire renovation work is costing over Rs 2.5 lakh.
Prabhu is expected to move into the bungalow on June 11. A Sena leader said, “He was meant to shift on Akshaya Tritiya, but did not move in as the renovation work had not been completed. He was the one who asked the officials to carry out the painting and repairing work, even though they wasn’t much need for it. But this has been a trend – whenever someone is elected to this post, they want touch-ups done before they move in.” He revealed that no previous mayor had waited this long to shift into the bungalow.
Prabhu denied having requested for a fresh coat of paint on the walls. “I have asked the officials only for repair work, which is needed from time to time. Some of the chairs, and other articles of furniture needed some maintenance, and the bathroom needed retiling. The work is nearing completion and I would shift into the house in a few days. I was waiting for the work to be completed, as I didn’t want to opt for any such work after I moved in,” he said.
Another official revealed that the restoration of the compound walls was yet to begin, and was last done in the year 2000. “There is need for restoration, but the estimates haven’t been drawn up yet. Other than that, we cannot touch anything, as it is a heritage structure,” said the official. Last year, former mayor Shraddha Jadhav had requested for refurbishment of the compound walls as well as the entrance gates at a cost of Rs 3 crore. Among earlier mayors, Shubha Raul had installed solar lights as well as new furniture in the bungalow, along with renovation of servants’ quarters, security cabin and garage. During mayor Datta Dalvi’s tenure, the bungalow underwent revamp amounting to Rs 2 crore. Later, further renovations were made at the cost of Rs 18 lakh.