Fresh attempt to revive Zoo aquarium project
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Fresh attempt to revive Zoo aquarium project

May 22, 2024

Search begins for transaction advisors to prepare DPR after studying technical & financial feasibility

Mysore/Mysuru: The much-touted and long- pending world-class aquarium project at the Mysuru Zoo (Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens), which has been in limbo for over 12 years, has gained fresh traction.

Zoo authorities are now looking to select transaction advisors or consultancies to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) after studying the technical and financial feasibility of the Rs. 45-crore project.

The aquarium structure, half-built by the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), was handed over to the Zoo in 2018 for refurbishing and maintenance. It was built at a cost of Rs. 4.26 crore. Despite the handover and grand announcements, the aquarium project has not progressed.

In 2019, the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) identified a New Zealand firm that built the Aquatic Life Science Park in the Science City of Gujarat in Ahmedabad to complete the aquarium project and sent a proposal to the State Government for approval. However, this did not materialise.

In 2020, the ZAK proposed using the Swiss Challenge method for selecting bidders. In this process, an interested party submits a project proposal, which the Government then publicises to invite competing bids. The original proposer has the chance to match the best bid, combining elements of both open auctions and closed tenders to determine the best price for the project. Even this did not get Government approval.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, Zoo Executive Director D. Mahesh Kumar said that a Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued to select transaction advisors or consultancies to prepare the DPR for the project.

Technical and financial feasibility

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“Once the DPR is prepared with 3-D images of the futuristic project, we will call for tenders under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. We have already secured Government approval for this model. The process to appoint transaction advisors will begin after June 4, following the conclusion of the Lok Sabha poll code,” he said.

The building is 10 years old, and transaction advisors will assess the project’s feasibility before making a decision based on their feedback. The feasibility study includes two aspects: technical and financial.

The technical feasibility will be evaluated by an engineering team, which will assess the building’s structure, space and suitability for the proposed aquarium.

The financial viability will consider the return on investment (ROI) and the expected number of visitors, addressing operations and maintenance aspects. “We are not worried about the ROI, as the Zoo consistently attracts visitors daily, with numbers doubling on weekends and peaking during holidays and festival seasons. Zoo visitors will want to visit the modern aquarium,” Mahesh Kumar added.

After DPR preparation, tenders will be called under PPP model, involving private players for capital investment. The project will operate under BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer) model, with specifications to be determined during tendering process. The entire process will follow the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement guidelines, he said.


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