BMC to refloat tenders for new cafeteria inside Byculla zoo for fourth time

Updated: Nov 21, 2018, 13:00 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

After three failed attempts, Mumbai civic body to refloat tenders for new cafeteria inside Byculla zoo; may even reduce asking rent

Civic body is searching for good caterers to manage the new cafeteria inside Byculla zoo after complaints from visitors about the quality of food currently available on the premises. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Civic body is searching for good caterers to manage the new cafeteria inside Byculla zoo after complaints from visitors about the quality of food currently available on the premises. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The civic body wants to give 5,000 sqft inside Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, also known as Byculla zoo, on rent for Rs 4 lakh; but there are no takers! The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had floated tenders, calling experienced caterers to run a cafeteria at the zoo, but no interested parties turned up.

Another attempt
The BMC has kept a cafeteria space inside the new building that was constructed during the development of the penguin enclosures. Taking cognisance of the complaints pouring in from visitors and corporators on the canteen facility at the BMC head office building, the civic body wants to rope in a good caterer, as the penguin enclosure has become a tourist attraction.

It has floated tenders thrice in the past and is now gearing up for a fourth time. While bids went without attracting any interest during the first two attempts, the third time, two bidders came up but failed during the technical evaluation, leading to the tender's cancellation. Sources revealed the BMC is now likely to reduce the rent to attract efficient and renowned caterers. A civic official requesting anonymity said, "We are looking at reducing the rent of the space inside the zoo, but a final decision is yet to be taken, as there is no response from outside." 

What's keeping 'em away?
Another possible reason companies have kept away is due to BMC's many restrictions for this set-up — the contractor bidding for the tender should have prior successful experience of running a canteen or a hotel, and the cafeteria will be operated as per the zoo's functioning and rules, among others. Sources revealed the cafeteria space being deep inside the premises, too, is deterring prospective bidders, as they fear they may not do good business due to the location.

Officialspeak
Zoo director Sanjay Tripathi said, "The bidders who came in did not clear the technical evaluation, and we want to ensure top quality food for the visitors, as the zoo is also a tourist spot. Once we find good caterers to run the cafeteria, we expect it to attract a good number of people." 

Food for thought
The cafeteria plan was okayed by the Central Zoo Authority as part of the approvals it granted for phase II of the zoo revamp. It is a dedicated, and closed, space for visitors on the ground floor, next to the penguin enclosures. Currently, the open food kiosks is resulting in the visitors not only treating themselves, but also feeding the animals, which, according to activists, is a cause for concern.

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