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Officials to explore if Raj Bhavan has more hidden bunkers, tunnels

mumbai Updated: Aug 19, 2016 14:11 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
public works department

After the discovery of a British-era bunker found under Raj Bhavan, the office-residence of governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao at Malabar Hill, state officials along with experts will find out if the estate has more concealed bunkers or tunnels.

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

In a meeting called by the governor on Thursday, experts contended that there must be more bunkers or tunnel-like structures at the gubernatorial complex.

Read:In pics: British-era bunker discovered under Maharashtra Raj Bhavan

“When any such bunker was built for security purpose, it was built in numbers. We are expecting the same here. The governor too agreed with my opinion. Hence, it was decided to explore more such structures,” said Rajiv Mishra , principal of Sir JJ School of Architecture, who attended the meeting.

Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at the entrance to the bunker. ((Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account))

The revelation has strengthened the assumption of civil engineers of state public works department (PWD) that newly discovered bunker is a one-plus-one structure that needs to be explored further.

The bunker, presumed to be a war room, was discovered by state officials on August 12 after demolishing a temporary wall blocking the entrance. The 150-meter long bunker has 13 rooms that are presumed to be used for storing arms and ammunition by the British. It also has two hand-operated lifting machines to bring out cannon shells and other ammunition for firing at the time of battle and two emergency exits.

In the meeting, it was also decided to conduct a structural audit of the bunker. IIT-Bombay is likely to be roped in for the task. A comprehensive conservation plan for the bunker will also be prepared with the help of an expert committee comprising chief engineer PWD Pravin Kide as coordinator, Dr Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya, Rajiv Mishra, principal of Sir JJ School of Architecture, Dr M Nambhirajan, regional director (west), Archaeological Survey of India.

Dattatreya Padsalgikar, commissioner of police, Mumbai, Commodore Sunil Balkrishnan, CSO of Western Naval Command, chief engineer of PWD and others senior officials also attended the meeting.