Mumbai: Forget revamp, just clean Bandra talao, says heritage body

BMC told to scale down on beautification and focus on desilting the grade II heritage structure

Bandra Talao, along SV Road in Bandra West, is a grade II heritage structure that was only recently revamped. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Bandra Talao, along SV Road in Bandra West, is a grade II heritage structure that was only recently revamped. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has given the BMC's Garden Cell the best tip to keep Bandra Talao looking its best - just keep it clean. Even as the garden department planned grand beautification works, including a glass tunnel for an underwater viewing gallery, MHCC has pointed out that this is merely window dressing.

The Garden Cell is now planning a glass walkway over Bandra Talao, connecting its four ends, instead of a tunnel underneath
The Garden Cell is now planning a glass walkway over Bandra Talao, connecting its four ends, instead of a tunnel underneath

Bandra Talao had only recently been revamped, with a pedestrian pathway built around it. Since the lake is a Grade II heritage structure, the Garden Cell sent its plans for phase two of the revamp to the MHCC.

Also read: BMC plans to clean Bandra and Sion lakes, Morya and Shivaji Talao

Under the second phase of the revamp project, the civic body had proposed constructing boundary walls around the lake, as well as a glass tunnel that would give visitors an underwater view. The estimated cost of this is R8.81 crore.

MHCC says
The heritage body asked the officials to scale down their grand plans, and instead, focus on desilting the lake on a priority basis. The committee has also asked the BMC officials to check and fix any leakages from sewers and stormwater drains that may soil the water.

Also read - Mumbai: Illegal fishing putting Bandra Talao's ecosystem at risk, say activists

An MHCC member said, "The committee did not like this, as it would obstruct pedestrians' and motorists' direct view of the lake. The important part is to restore and keep the heritage site as visible to the citizens as possible. From the environmental aspect, it is important to check that the lake water is clean and is not dirtied by any leakages."

Plans modified
After being turned down by the MHCC, the civic body's Garden Cell has now modified the proposal and done away with the idea of the underwater glass tunnel.

Also read - Mumbai: Activists tackle concrete issue in Bandra talao beautification

It will instead propose a glass-floored walkway that will connect the four ends of the lake, from where visitors can look down into the lake. Further, the view from the SV Road-end will not be obstructed by a boundary wall.

A civic official associated with the project said, "We are still working on the final designs, and that is why we have not ascertained the cost of the project. But so far, we have carried out a lot of changes, so that there is a nod from the heritage committee."

Official speak
Kishor Kshirsagar, deputy municipal commissioner who is in charge of the Garden department, said, "We have modified the phase II proposal for the Bandra Talao revamp, and will submit it to the heritage committee. The desilting process of the lake is nearing completion and we have asked the local ward office to find and fix any sewer leaks that are dirtying the lake. We will also be sending a formal reply to the queries that came from the heritage committee."

Rs 8 cr
Estimated cost of building walls and a glass tunnel

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