Maharashtra government plans facelift for Gateway of India
The Maharashtra government is planning to revamp one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country — the Gateway of India. In its upgradation and renovation plan, the state is looking to give an introduction of the financial capital of the country at the site.
The government has roped in conservation architect Abha Lambah, who has prepared three proposals for the revamp. The revamp will include the integration of the monument’s conservation, facilities for tourists, crowd management and security upgradation.
Despite being one of the most visited monuments, there is no proper infrastructure for site management or facilities for visitors at Gateway of India.
“The design has been made to integrate all the requirements, such as creating right facilities and infrastructure, while ensuring visual access to visitors, so that they can see the Gateway of India, the sea and will get a chance to see the imposing statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which is currently lost in all the visual clutter. The revamp will give a kind of introduction to the city and to Maharashtra. The plan also incorporated the security and risk assessment. In all, it is an endeavour to look holistically to all the concerns,” Lambah told HT.
The maintenance of the site and area around it is divided among various agencies. For instance, the structure and the 100-metre area near it come under the state archaeological department, while the jetty and boating area is under the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). The area outside it falls under the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
To deal with the jurisdiction issues, the state government on Friday constituted a committee of senior officials from the BMC, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), the state archaeological department, MbPT and the police department. The committee will be headed by Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, state tourism department, and finalise the model and help in executing the revamp plan.
“We will conduct a proper upgradation and renovation of the whole Gateway of India precinct. The committee has been formed because there are so many agencies involved in it and thus a unified approach was needed. It is more like an executive committee in which everyone has to pool in their resources. It will approve the plan and all the agencies will then execute the part that falls under their jurisdiction,” said Singh.
Apart from the proposed make-over plan, the tourism department has also planned to hold a sound and light show at the site.
“It will be the most modern sound and light show and will be based on different themes related to the history of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Marathas, the freedom movement and many more and will keep changing every week,” she added.
In February, state tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray had a meeting with deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar, in which the development and conservation of 22 tourist sites, including the Gateway of India, was discussed. The finance minister had also assured requisite funds for the development and maintenance of these sites.
The state government on September 7 had approved developing a jetty and passenger terminal near Radio Club in south Mumbai to facilitate boat rides to Elephanta Island, Alibag and Mandwa. The project will help in decongesting the existing jetty and passenger terminal at the Gateway of India which sees 30-35 lakh passengers every year. The MMB has said it will be start the tendering process for the ₹100-crore project soon.