Ground work for the next phase of the Marine Drive beautification project will begin only by the end of this year, officials have said.
According to sources in the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), due to the election code of conduct and the pending clearances from other agencies including the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the tenders will be floated only by July this year.
Three months will be spent finalising the bids and awarding the work order, but ground work may not begin following this due to the election code of conduct for the assembly elections. It is only once the new state government is formed that the second phase of the beautification project will commence.
Among other things, the beautification plan includes a viewing balcony, amphitheatre, and the restoration of Parsi Gate, which is diagonally opposite Taraporewala Aquarium.
In 2007, work on the initial phase was completed and handed over to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The first phase included a facelift of the Queen's Necklace by strengthening the promenade walls and reworking the landscaping, among other things.
"The concept plan is ready and now work is underway to convert it into an engineering plan by way of blueprints and drawings for implementation of the promenade which is 4.3kms long and extends right from Nariman Point to Girgaum Chowpatty," said an official. The estimated cost is just over Rs78 crore and the work is expected to be completed by mid-2015.
Work on the second phase was on the back burner due to hurdles from various sides, including the heritage committee and Coastal Regulatory Zone. It is only in the last two months things have started moving forward and attempts are being made to revive the beautification project.