More than eight years after it was proposed, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is going ahead with planning of a textile museum at Kalachowkie. BMC has appointed JJ School of Arts to prepare a vision document for the museum.
The plan includes a live, functioning mini-textile mill, a representation of the past chawl life and a museum celebrating the city’s mill legacy. "My note to the planning committee is to make the museum interactive for public, accessible which is enjoyed by all the citizens of the city,"said Ajoy Mehta, municipal commissioner.
State government just before the civic election approved the BMCs plan to retain the land under the heritage structures for the textile museum as part of the recreation ground of the civic body.
The museum will come up in India United Mills that is spread over an area of 10 acres. India United Mills 2 and 3 have the tag of a heritage precinct, the area has three ring and spinning structures, a chimney, a semi-automatic loom and a pond. All the individual structures in the compound have varying heritage status. “All the heritage structures will be restored to its past glory. I have asked the committee to restore the mills, the water body in the compound,”added Mehta.
Restoration work of some of the structures in the mill has already begun. The museum will also have a dedicated space for new graduate students to showcase their arts at nominal rate. “The space will allocated to new graduates, from painters to sculptors, who will be rent the space for six months to one year, showcase their art and also sell it. After a year their place will be taken by new graduates. The space will not be given to boutique stores,” said Mehta. A separate exhibition area will be also carved out.
The plot has been mired into controversy for past eight years, from funding of the museum to the non-approval of the plan by Maharashtra Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC).