Mumbai: Banganga tank to be restored

BMC has made a provision of Rs 5 crore in the budget for the revamp, and will coordinate with the Archaeological Survey of India and the trust which looks after the tank

South Mumbai’s iconic centuries-old Banganga tank will soon get a much needed facelift. This year, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has made a provision of Rs 5 crore in the budget for this and civic officers recently visited the tank and reviewed the spot.

Lights were put up near the tank after Addl Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas visited it and pointed out that the lighting wasn’t proper
Lights were put up near the tank after Addl Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas visited it and pointed out that the lighting wasn’t proper

The historic tank’s water has been polluted, and so far there had been no restoration plans from government agencies. mid-day had reported last year how the dirty war had killed many fish in the tank (‘Pitru Paksh rituals kill hundreds of fish in Banganga, claims manager of temple trust’, October 22, 2014).

Several fish had died during the pitru paksh period last year. File pic
Several fish had died during the pitru paksh period last year. File pic

The BMC has decided to draw up a detailed plan in co-ordination with the trust which is taking care of the tank and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). As the tank is a heritage structure, ASI’s permission is necessary for restoration. Talking about the revamp, Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “The proposal is in the planning stage.

We will hold a meeting with all agencies regarding the revamp of the tank. The revamp will consist of proper arrangement of the access road, desilting and cleaning of the tank, proper lighting and beautification. There is no proper access road to reach the tank so we will try to improve on it. If the trust which maintains the tank suggests more ideas, then we can also add them in the plan.”

He added, “Mumbai has many water bodies but unfortunately they are in bad shape, so this year we are focusing on reviving them.” Srinivas visited the Banganga tank last week. Finding no proper lighting arrangement in the tank premises he ordered the local ward office to install light poles.

In October last year, hundreds of fish were found dead in the tank. The Gaud Saraswat Brahman Temple Trust which looks after the tank had blamed pitru paksh rituals for the dead fish. During pitru paksh, thousands of people perform pooja and pay tribute with flowers and flour. This raises pollution levels and fish die every year.

Trust unaware of plan
The secretary of the Gaud Saraswat Brahman Temple Trust, Shashank Gulgule, said, “Earlier we had sent a plan to ASI for restoration of the tank but there was no response from them. Banganga needs railings from all the entrances and only one or two gates should be open. Almost throughout the year, people come and offer their hair and rice in the tank as a ritual.”

He added, “As of now, we are not aware of BMC’s revamp plan. Three years ago, we had sent a proposal to the state government for restoration, after which then minister Jayant Patil had visited, but that plan never took off as we didn’t get permission from ASI. Banganga needs urgent attention since it is in bad shape. I don’t remember when it was repaired last.”

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