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According to the CAG, the delay has been mainly on account of the institute management's indecisiveness on the kind of building to be constructed.
When the land was acquired in 1980, the objective was to develop it as a centre for breeding primates (monkeys) for the much-needed research on drugs in the area of reproduction science. But, even as the authorities started on preliminary works such as construction of internal roads, ICMR threw a spanner in the works.
In May 1988, the council took the stand that there was no need for such a facility because primate breeding facilities existed in other institutions and decided that the land be used for some other purpose.
A proposal was accordingly mooted to house the three research institutions of ICMR in one place in Mumbai. The move, however, did not fructify owing to logistic reasons besides want of budgetary provisions.
By August 1991, it was back to square one. ICMR once again decided to use land for a primates' colony. The new proposal was to establish a National Centre for Primate Breeding and Research to meet the needs of primates for the various research centres and medical colleges under the Council and not just that of IRR.
It was decided that the national facility would be set up by the middle of the ninth plan period at an estimated cost of Rs. 52.74 crores.
But, the fresh proposal has also been put in the limbo, as the Union Health Ministry which had agreed to support the project, has not been able to find the resources for it.
As things stand, it could be years before the project sees the light of day.
To quote the CAG, "in the absence of any firm commitment for funding, utilisation of the land in the near future remains doubtful''.
The land, a 23-acre plot at Vasai in Thane district, was acquired from the Maharashtra Government in May 1980 at a cost of Rs. 50,000 and the institute has so far spent an additional 48.5 lakhs Rs. 15.5 lakhs on construction of internal roads, main gate, watchmen shed, borewells and other miscellaneous items, and Rs. 33 lakhs towards the salary for watchmen.
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