Rs 38-cr golf course to wait 9 months for CM inauguration

May 26, 2012, 06:33 IST | Saurabh Katkurwar

The 11-hole golf course in Kharghar has been ready since Feb, but the CM's busy schedule, election code of conduct and the impending monsoons are likely to delay the opening till November.

The brand new 11-hole golf course in Kharghar, ready since February, will have to wait well until after the monsoon to be inaugurated, thanks to Cidco’s insistence that the CM do the honours. In the last four months, unavailability of dates from the chief minister has led Cidco officials to skip several occasions marked for the inauguration. Now, the problem is the model code of conduct imposed in Raigad prior to local body elections.

The hole truth: CIDCO has been spending Rs 10 lakh  a month to maintain the course for the past 4 months

The code is in force till the end of this month. When that ends, the monsoon will play spoiler for the next three-four months. Officials say they will need a month thereafter to trim the lawn. As such, November is the month tentatively scheduled for the opening. As per Cidco’s targets, the golf course was supposed to rake in over Rs 1 crore in six months through commercial use by the public and international matches. But as long as it lies unused, the target will not be met.

Bogey! The golf course was supposed to make Rs 1 crore in 6 months through commercial usage, but instead of the profits, CIDCO has only been accruing monthly maintenance expenses of Rs 10 lakh

“We had plans of making over Rs 1 crore in six months from the course, where people will be allowed to play golf at nominal cost. We are likely to lose this income now as the unveiling is not likely to happen before November,” said a senior Cidco official requesting anonymity. More concrete losses have accrued to Cidco in the form of monthly maintenance expenses of around Rs 10 lakh for the past four months.

“We completed the construction in February and have since been incurring expenses of around Rs 10 lakh every month for maintenance of the course. If the inauguration does not happen in the next few days, grass will grow rank on the course due to the rains. We will then have to chop it, level the course using earthmoving machines, and do much more,” said Ramesh Giri, executive engineer, Cidco.

Cidco is still sticking firm to its decision of getting the CM for the inauguration. Mohan Ninawe, public relations officer, Cidco, said, “Due to the code of conduct in Raigad, we are not able to get the CM for the inauguration. We will seek his availability once the code of conduct gets over. The opening ceremony will only be at the hands of the CM, and it is very difficult to say when that will be possible. Until then, the course will not be made operational.”

Long overdue
The work on the golf course in Kharghar started in January 2008 and was supposed to be completed by February 2010. But delay in getting clearances cost the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (Cidco) two more years to complete the course. The body has attempted to get the CM for its inauguration at least three times till now. Officially, the ceremony was announced for March 24, then April 26, but was cancelled both times. Initially, the course was supposed to be constructed with 18 holes at a cost of Rs 52 crore. But Cidco did not get permission from the forest department for using its land to construct seven holes, and went on to build an 11-hole course at Rs 38 crore.

I have been waiting for the golf course for the last few years, as we do not have a single one in Navi Mumbai. Why are the authorities not throwing it open even though it was developed four months ago?
--- Vishwajit Desai, engineer at shipping company

Cidco should not wait for the CM for the inauguration, as that means the course will remain unused for another four months after the monsoon sets in. The inauguration can be done after opening of the golf course.
-- Yugesh Ganeshe, nutrition officer with a private company

It is ridiculous to put on hold the opening of the golf course for such a trivial reason. Cidco should throw it open to the public without any formality as it is constructed with people’s money.
-- Ashish Indapawar, IT professional  

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