Mumbai Mayor picks Malabar Hill over Byculla for residence

Vishwanath Mahadeshwar rejects civic body's proposal to set up mayoral residence within Byculla zoo, citing environmental concerns and disturbance to the animals

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has refused to move into a bungalow being built for him at the Byculla zoo. The current mayoral residence at Shivaji Park is being converted into a memorial for Shiv Sena chief, the late Bal Thackeray. In a letter to BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, he has said he does not wish to 'disturb' the animals and wants a bungalow in Malabar Hill.

Mahadeshwar has his eyes set on the bungalow belonging to the BMC's Hydraulic Engineering department at Malabar Hill
Mahadeshwar has his eyes set on the bungalow belonging to the BMC's Hydraulic Engineering department at Malabar Hill

Mahadeshwar's letter asks for either the bungalow of the additional municipal commissioner of Mumbai or of the additional municipal commissioner (projects) in Malabar Hill. The BMC's proposed bungalow inside the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo will be approximately 5,600 sq feet in area.

The residence that is being constructed for him within the Byculla zoo premises is a fancy 5,600 sq ft in area. The move was effected after the mayor’s residence in Dadar was allocated to the Bal Thackeray memorial
The residence that is being constructed for him within the Byculla zoo premises is a fancy 5,600 sq ft in area. The move was effected after the mayor’s residence in Dadar was allocated to the Bal Thackeray memorial

Scouting for a new home
His letter states, "The zoo is a silence zone, and any activity after 6 pm is prohibited in the area. Many events of foreign delegates and dignitaries coming to visit the mayor's bungalow will then be affected. It will disturb the environment in the zoo, which may be harmful to the animals. So, this proposed bungalow is not acceptable to me. Considering all these issues, the civic body should instead give me the bungalow of either additional municipal commissioner (city) or additional municipal commissioner (projects)."

Currently, there are two bungalows in Malabar Hill belonging to the hydraulic engineers department. One is occupied by the additional municipal commissioner (projects) Dr Sanjay Mukherjee and the other by additional municipal commissioner (city) Pallavi Darade.

Sena reacts
Earlier, Sena corporators had demanded that the municipal chief's bungalow on Carmichael Road be given to the mayor. However, the civic administration didn't take cognizance of the Sena's demand.

A senior Sena corporator said since entry into the zoo is restricted after a certain hour, the mayor, who is a public figure who expects several visitors, will not be able to see anyone after late evening.

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