Work on revival of Khotachiwadi near Girgaum to start in December
Apart from paving the streets again, art installations, including an exhibition gallery, part of which will be open to public contribution, in a bid to spread awareness about Khotachiwadi
After months of planning, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to begin work for the revival of the 200-year-old hamlet of Khotachiwadi in Girgaum in December.
Apart from paving the streets again, the plan mentions art installations, including an exhibition gallery, part of which will be open to public contribution, in a bid to spread awareness about the heritage precinct. The project, which will cost around Rs 50 lakh, will be taken up in three phases.
Bringing heritage to life
Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner of D ward, said, "The tendering process for the project is nearly complete, and work on the first phase will begin in the first week of December. The plan to revamp the heritage precinct has been designed in such a way to ensure that no one needs to be evacuated." He added that the first phase will begin with work on the roads, footpaths and lighting.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had given his approval to the plan back in March, after which the nod from the heritage committee had come. The hamlet will soon have an entrance canopy, which will be made out of a metal framework with a green cover. As for street lighting, while some of the street lamps will be reused as artefacts, new solar-based metal and glass lamps will be installed as well. Wide-frame light fixtures will also be hung, which can be covered with temporary decorations during festive occasions. The plan includes signages with names and maps of the heritage precinct, and wooden plates that will mention house numbers and names.
Residents have often complained that motorists use the bylanes of Khotachiwadi to avoid traffic on main roads, and this disrupts the neighbourhood's peace and quiet. Addressing these concerns, Mote added that bollards will be installed to prevent cars from passing through.
Conservation architect Tapan Deshpande, who has designed the plan and will oversee the work, said the project will highlight the historic character of the 18th century East Indian settlement. As part of the art installations, she said there will be a memory wall and mosaic floors representing Portuguese culture.
"We will have an exhibition gallery that will have an interactive element. While some of the exhibits will be permanent, some will be open to people who want to showcase their paintings or photographs," added Deshpande, highlighting that the gallery will encourage people to know more about the history and give an incentive to residents to maintain their houses better.
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