Mumbai: Zoo director's dilapidated bungalow gets a makeover
After a gap of almost four years, the current zoo director is set to move in this month
After lying vacant and in an uninhabitable condition for four years, the zoo director's bungalow, a heritage structure inside the Veermata Jijabai Udyan (Rani Baug) in Byculla, has undergone a major makeover. The year-long restoration project, which cost the BMC R1.5 cr, was taken up by the heritage department. The current zoo director, Sanjay Tripathi, is expected to move in this month.
Civic officials from the heritage department said that due to the dilapidated condition of the building, former zoo director Anil Anjankar moved out of the 2,000 sq ft bungalow in 2015. "The bungalow is close to 100 years old," said an official from the heritage department. "Over the years, the condition of the building deteriorated to the point where it was falling apart. Major repairs had to be taken up and nearly 70 per cent of the structure, which is mainly made of wood, had to be replaced."
The official added that since some of the interior walls had decayed, they had to break them and construct them again. "The section of the bungalow where the toilets are located was completely falling apart. We had to build the toilet again and installed new fittings. Similarly, parts of the wooden staircase was badly damaged. We fixed the alignment of the staircase and replaced the wood where it had rotted," said the official. Apart from the walls, significant portions of the wooden ceilings had to be replaced.
As part of the repairs, a section of the pitched roof also had to be reconstructed since the previous alignment was blocking a window, which remained shut. Civic officials think that the error may have been an oversight during previous repairs. "The window on the first floor could not be opened since the roof was getting in the way. We changed the profile of the pitched roof, replaced all the tiles and created a stain-glass window to let in some natural light," said the official.
Since the work on the bungalow is complete, the current zoo director, Sanjay Tripathi, has started moving in his belongings. When contacted, he said, "The heritage bungalow has been home to zoo directors in the past. I am planning to move in sometime this month."
Heritage department officials added that while the work on the bungalow, which took 13 months, was completed just last week, there is still some work pending. The official said they still have to construct a toilet block that they had to demolish earlier, repair the staff quarters and complete the landscaping of the garden, which will take another five months.
The cost of renovating the bungalow
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