Belapur Fort restoration work starts today | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Belapur Fort restoration work starts today

Hindustan Times | By, Navi Mumbai
Jun 16, 2019 12:17 AM IST

An official from Cidco, on the condition of anonymity, said care has been taken to ensure the materials used for restoration match the ones that have been used to build the structure

The 458-year-old Belapur Fort, located just 3km from the City Industrial and Development Corporation’s (Cidco) headquarters at the heart of the business district, will finally see restoration work starting on Sunday.

The Belapur Fort, situated atop a hillock at Kille Gaothan, was built between 1560-1570 by the Siddis.(Hindustan Times)
The Belapur Fort, situated atop a hillock at Kille Gaothan, was built between 1560-1570 by the Siddis.(Hindustan Times)

The 17-crore repair work which was supposed to start in February this year was postponed owing to the Lok Sabha election, during which the model code of conduct was enforced. Before that, Cidco had planned to start restoring the 16th-century structure in May 2018 but called it off as the tendering process to appoint a contractor resulted in quotations beyond the allocated budget.

Priya Ratambe, Cidco’s public relations officer (PRO), said, “The work would start on a positive note. We will ensure that work is completed in 28 months and might be extended if the need arises.”

The planning agency, last year, said it plans to build an amphitheatre, food court, parking plaza and senior citizens’ centre around the fort “to make the place more happening and engaging.”

Ratambe confirmed that the plan to build the extra facilities around the fort was still on.

Historians and heritage enthusiasts welcomed the move but have also warned Cidco against erecting too many commercial elements around the fort, as it might weaken its very foundation.

The Belapur Fort, situated atop a hillock at Kille Gaothan, was built between 1560-1570 by the Siddis — an ethnic group from East Africa that settled in India in the medieval era — after they took control of the area from the Portuguese. The fort was then controlled by the Marathas and then the British, who are said to have done considerable damage to it. Some historians believe there is an underground tunnel that connects the fort to Elephanta Island.

Siddhi Dawra, a history blogger who lives in Belapur, said the fort has been a witness to the rich history of the state. “It was Peshwa Bajirao’s brother, Chimanji, who recaptured it from the British and renamed it Belapur Fort. History tells us a lot about our victories and losses and this is exactly why forts like these must be preserved for future generations,” he said.

Dawra said the fort was already crumbling and too much commercial activity around it might weaken it further. “Cidco should be careful with their restoration efforts,” he said.

Raghu Jadhav, a 56-year-old villager who lives in the area, said, “Our forefathers must have seen the full glory of the fort; we have only seen crumbling ruins. A lot of wild vegetation has grown on it now. We [the villagers] sometimes have replace the falling stones in their right position.”

Aditya Devkar, 45, another local resident, said having the fort in his village’s backyard is a matter of pride. “We have passed down stories about the fort from our grandfathers to our children. If it had been restored earlier, it would have been saved. But I’m happy they are starting the work now.”

An official from Cidco, on the condition of anonymity, said care has been taken to ensure the materials used for restoration match the ones that have been used to build the structure. “Restoring a fort is no easy work. We have to conserve its old form as well as its glory. We need to be fully satisfied that the contractor we appoint would be able to deliver on this. We’re hopeful that the fort will survive for more generations to come,” he said.

Louiza Rodrigues, head of the history department at Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College in Matunga, said Cidco’s efforts can turn out to be detrimental but can also regenerate interest about the fort itself. “Cidco should ensure its restoration is inclusive and does not harm the original structure of the fort,” she said.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

Stay updated with all the Breaking News and Latest News from Mumbai. Click here for comprehensive coverage of top Cities including Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and more across India along with Stay informed on the latest happenings in World News.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On