In what could become a major impediment to the construction of a water tunnel from Powai to Veravali, the Mumbai office of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has issued a stop work notice to the civic body for beginning work without necessary clearances.
The 2.2km long water tunnel which is being constructed from Powai to Veravali runs near the regulated area of Kondivate caves (Mahakali) located in Andheri.
“The tunnel which is being constructed would run beneath the peripheral area of the cave site and not beneath the monument. Hence, it would not pose harm to the monument, per se” said Rajendra Borse, chief engineer, BMC’s water supply projects department.
According to the letter issued by the ASI to BMC’s water supply projects department, the civic body had begun construction and the blasting of the water supply line at Veravali within the regulated area of the centrally protected monument of Mahakali Caves.
The letter further cites section 30 A of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, which states that any construction within the prohibited area near protected monuments shall be punishable with imprisonment of two years or a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
The letter was sent to the civic body last month and the BMC claimed that it had begun the process of seeking necessary permissions.
“We have applied for permissions to the concerned authority and the documents have already been forwarded to Delhi for screening,” added Rakendra Borse.
The 2.2km long Powai to Veravali tunneling work is part of the project that includes construction of the 6.8 km long reservoirs tunnel which also includes construction of the 4.4km long Powai to Ghatkopar reservoir tunnel that would augment water supply to the eastern and western suburbs in the city.