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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Mumbai’s 155-year-old iconic Flora Fountain unveiled after renovation

The renovation was divided into two phases, of which phase B (revamp of the statue and fountain) is complete while phase A ( landscaping) is still in progress owing to the late response to the tenders invited by the BMC

mumbai Updated: Jan 25, 2019 13:06 IST
Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The restored Flora Fountain was unveiled by mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray at Fort on Thursday.
The restored Flora Fountain was unveiled by mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray at Fort on Thursday.(HT Photo )
         

After being under wraps for a little more than two years owing to restoration work, Mumbai’s iconic Flora Fountain at Fort was finally unveiled on Thursday.

The renovation was divided into two phases, of which phase B (revamp of the statue and fountain) is complete while phase A ( landscaping) is still in progress owing to the late response to the tenders invited by the BMC. The restoration was undertaken after civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta introduced a special budget for heritage structures in the 2016-17 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) budget.

Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray and mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar inaugurated the 155-year-old monument on Thursday.

Ketan Ghag, a citizen, who attended the inauguration, said, “I travel to south Mumbai every day and the fountain is a reminder of our great heritage. Once the work is complete, I hope people use this spot well. The BMC must make sure that it is maintained.”

However, the BMC is yet to decide on a contractor for maintaining the fountain and deciding the timings of the water flow. A civic officer said, “We need to know the water loss that will be caused by evaporation, after which we can decide how much supply is needed.”

Renovation work of Mumbai’s iconic Flora Fountain was given to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) by the BMC in September 2016.However, the organisation had stopped the work towards the end of 2017 due to paucity of funds.
Renovation work of Mumbai’s iconic Flora Fountain was given to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) by the BMC in September 2016.However, the organisation had stopped the work towards the end of 2017 due to paucity of funds. ( Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo )

The repairs and renovation of the fountain were divided into two phases, A and B.

While Phase A comprised renovation of the surrounding areas and installing a Victorian grill and heritage lights across the fountain, phase B comprised the repair and renovation of the statue and fountain. The missing neck of the statue and complex hydraulic engineering prolonged restoration work.

For phase A, the BMC did not get any response for its tenders about seven times and now finally the tender has been allocated to High Tech Engineering and Phase B restoration was done by Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) Greater Mumbai Chapter.

Phase B cost Rs1.25 crore, while Phase A is estimated to cost about Rs 3 crore.

Under phase A, the tram tracks that were excavated during renovation will be restored with basalt stones laid across the 10,000-square feet plaza. The plaza will also have seating arrangements for people to sit and enjoy the view of the fountain.

A civic engineer said, “We have not installed benches so that people do not sleep near the fountain, which in turn would lead to more problems.”

Kiran Dighavkar, A-ward officer (Fort and Colaba areas, which also houses the most heritage structures in the city) said, “Once the plaza is fully renovated, the entire appearance of the place will change.”

Aaditya Thackeray said, “We will ensure the restoration of other heritage structures are started soon and those in progress is completed soon. Mumbai is known for its heritage structures and we will work to maintain the status.”

First Published: Jan 25, 2019 13:04 IST