British-era bunker under Raj Bhavan may be opened to tourists soon

  • Faisal Malik, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 17, 2016 23:33 IST

The state government plans to explore the possibility of turning the British-era bunker discovered at Raj Bhavan into a tourist spot.

Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao said they have called for a meeting with officials from the intelligence, historians, archeological experts, tourism department and the state’s public works department on Thursday to consider the various options. “We are looking at options, so we could develop the space into a museum showcasing Maharashtra’s history. We will first conduct a structural audit of the bunker, which is 150-200 years old. We will examine its strength and if suggested by the experts will open it for tourism,” Rao said.

The discovery of the bunker will also be added to the next coffee-table book on Raj Bhavan. On Wednesday, the bunker was opened for media and staff. Officials said it will now be closed until historians and archaeologists complete their research. “There are many objects inside the bunker that can serve as clues to historians. We want to retain those,” said an official from the public relations department at Raj Bhavan.

Read: Not just governor, Raj Bhavan houses a 5,000-sq-ft British-era bunker too

The 150-meter-long bunker has 13 rooms with inlets for fresh air and light. (Satish Bate)

The barrack has rooms bearing the names — Shell Store, Gun Shell, Cartridge Store, Shell Lift, Pump and Workshop. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

Visitors take a selfie at the underground bunker under the gubernatorial residence in Malabar Hill on Wednesday. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

“We are still unaware of what is there on the first floor, but will find out once the experts join us,” the governor told the reporters.

Krishna Ghogare, engineer from the public works department (PWD), said they were amazed with the kind of engineering used to build the bunker. “It has a state-of-the-art design, which needs to be studied in detail,” said Ghogare, who was among the first few people to enter the bunker, after the governor gave consent to remove a temporary wall covering its 20-ft entrance. “With the size of entrance, stairs going upwards and lifting machines, it seems like a ground plus one structure,” said Krishna.

Rakesh Jadhav, 43, working as room boy at Raj Bhavan, said he was born there, but did not get a chance to visit the place. “We had heard stories that there is tunnel on the premises leading to Mahalaxmi,”said Jadhav.

The governor said they are still unaware where the bunker ends. “It may be extended to both the sides. We are yet to explore its all aspects,” he said.

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