Brihanmumbai Corporation Officials had promised in a recent meeting that the work of beautification of the lake would be over by April 30. But the residents and civic activists from the area point out that it is going to be more than one month after their commitment but the work has not finished yet.

The project has now come under the limelight because its cost has gone up from 10.07 crore rupees to 43 crore rupees since 2006 from the time the project began.

Girish Nair, resident of the area says, “In just four years the project cost has pegged up four times the original cost of the project. It has become common for the civic body to delay the projects and pay much more for the project which they don’t anticipate in the beginning.”

In case of Powai, the BMC will also develop the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Udhyan, spread over 40 acres. While the strengthening the Powai dam is part of the project, money will also be spent on construction of gates, compound walls, as well as landscaped gardens. The Aquatic Garden planned is the largest and most expensive of the lot. “The project has been constructed with an aquatic design”, Doke, the architect in charge of the project, explains.

“Residents are facing water shortage in the area, and instead of increasing water supply, the BMC is only interested in beautifying. This shows where their priorities lie”, says MNS corporator Rajendra Lad.

Pramod Guhe, Deputy Hydraulic Engineer, informs “We have asked for more funds because there is an additional cost for the electrical fittings, installing street lights, mask lights for which we had not asked for in the tender earlier.”

Official who accompanied the mayor to review the work at the site said, “At the planning stage there were many issues that were not anticipated so they were not covered under the scope of the work but now we have to complete the project. Also the officials may have forgotten about the need for a storm water drain on the promenade side and have not added it to the list. The revamped lake will have a retaining wall, and a jogging track stretching for two kilometers. The other things that the project has planned out are a nature park with shrubs, flower beds, trees, lawns with pathways, seating arrangements, a childrens play area, viewers dock, apart from toilets and water fountains. The lake is going to have a musical fountain. Three fountains with water jets will also be located in the lake, while speakers will be mounted on pole along the jogging track and pathways. The scope of horticulture work has also gone up along with the cost of the fountains”.

Source: The Times of Mulund-Powai. May 29, 2010.