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Opinion

In Mumbai, BMC begins restoration of British-era heritage landmarks

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After a delay of about two years since it was first planned, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) began work on the restoration of 11 heritage landmarks of the city from the British era on Tuesday. These milestones are approximately 200 years old, according to information from BMC, and were installed to mark the distance from St Thomas Cathedral near Horniman Circle in Fort, which is considered the zero milestone. There are supposed to be 15 or 16 such landmarks in the city limits, of which 11 have been tracked so far.

The restoration process includes excavating buried landmarks, cleaning and polishing the surface, reinstalling them in the original location on a raised platform, with an information plaque next to the stone. Each landmark will also have a QR code label, which tourists can scan on their mobile phones to see the entire historical heritage circuit. While the 11 that have been tracked will be restored under this plan, BMC plans to install replicas in place of those that have not been tracked to commemorate a heritage site.

Rahul Chemburkar from Vaastuvidhaan, who has been appointed as the conservation architect consultant for the project, said: “The only selling point of this project is the QR code, which will allow us to create a heritage circuit of all the landmarks, linking the circuit. digitally. “If a tourist comes across any landmark, they can scan the QR code and can access the map showing the entire heritage circuit, the distance and directions to the next landmark from the tourist’s current location, and more information about the history and relevance of each landmark. The Cooperage Kiosk and the Kothari Pyau also have similar QR codes, and both were restored by Vaastuvidhaan. These are also part of heritage circuits, for example the Kothari Pyau will be part of a 22 pyau circuit of this type, which will be restored by the civic body in the coming months.

Chemburkar said: “We need to give these distance markers due importance. Its relevance today is a historical landmark, although in those days it was used to measure the distance in the city limits that were quite limited ”.

In the last three years, different stakeholders have taken various initiatives to reestablish some landmarks in the city, at the BMC district level. This project will cost approximately Rs 26 lakhs and will take about three months to complete.

The project was first presented in 2018 to BMC’s Wealth Committee and has been pending due to cost and design reviews.

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