If everything goes according to the plan of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), a four-storey auditorium will be ready at Airoli by 2022. They have set aside a budget of ₹64 crore for the project.
Girish Gumaste, executive engineer of NMMC, said, “Our initial plan was to develop a 550- seater auditorium at a cost of ₹34 crore. Considering requests from residents’ groups and activists, we reworked the plan. It will now be 865-seater auditorium and we are spending ₹64 crore for it.”
Five years ago, the civic body started building the auditorium at plot number 37 at Sector 5.
Just after digging a trench for the basements, it stopped the work midway as they had to terminate the contract with the first contractor.
“We had to terminate the first contract as the contractor was taking time to execute the project. However, we it took time to find another bidder. The tendering process is over,” said Gumaste.
“The work will start this year-end and we will give the contractor two years to finish the project. We will throw it open to the public by early 2022,” he said.
The delayed work left the dug-up trench neglected. Rainwater started accumulating in the trench and it became a threat to the safety of residents.
On Tuesday, a body of a 63-year-old local woman was recovered from the trench. The police suspects that she had committed suicide.
In January last year, a 32-year-old woman committed suicide with her five-year-old son by jumping into it. Following the incident, NMMC barricaded the trench with steel fencing.
He said, “We had put barricades around the trench so that residents cannot enter it. But some people are removing the barricades to fetch water from it.”
According to Gumaste, the trench was dug to build two basements for a parking lot. There will be parking facility for 94 cars and 41 two-wheelers.
NMMC has only one auditorium — Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi. The new auditorium will give Airoli and Digha residents an entertainment hub nearby.