Mumbai: Banganga Tank’s steps damaged, locals enraged
The restoration work on the 300-year-old Banganga Tank is enveloped in controversy yet again. The steps surrounding the tank have been damaged, allegedly by contractors responsible for the new phase of restoration.mumbai Updated: May 04, 2015 22:49 IST
The restoration work on the 300-year-old Banganga Tank is enveloped in controversy yet again. The steps surrounding the tank have been damaged, allegedly by contractors responsible for the new phase of restoration.
Local residents and Goud Saraswat Brahman Temple Trust, owners of the temple complex, have alleged that the unloading of huge amounts of material at the spot, coupled with the construction of temporary tin shed, have damaged the heritage structure extensively.
“For the past three years, we have been demanding that the archaeology department carry out restoration work, but no one bothered to reply. Suddenly, they have started work at the spot, but have kept us in dark on what will be done,” said Mukund Datar, manager of the temple trust.
“They are damaging the site under the name of restoration. An urgent meeting has been called with all the authorities on Tuesday to discuss the issue,” he added.
Meanwhile, officials from the state archaeology department said the carved stones on the steps will be removed under the restoration work, a move that had received flak from locals and heritage conservationists in 2009.
Officials said this time too, the work will only include restoring the carved stones. “Rest of the restoration work will be carried out in the next phase a few years later,” said an official.
A local resident, Ashish Tiwari, said: “It is an important heritage area and cannot be given a modern look. There was enough damage done last time by replacing the carved stones.”
In 2009, the archaeology department had carried out partial restoration, under which carved stones on the century-old steps were replaced with polished grey stones on one side of the steps. Locals and historians had strongly opposed this. “The place will lose its charm if such modern architecture will be used. The site needs to be restored and not replaced with new stones,” said Datar, who met the governor last month to discuss the restoration work.
Heritage conservationist, Abha Narain Lambah, who was appointed by the state to lay the restoration plan, told HT: “I had submitted the plan to the state archaeology department a few years ago, but there has been no communication thereafter. I haven’t been informed if the work has been tendered out to contractors.”
EV Patil, conservation head at the state archaeology department, said, “We issued work orders to start the work recently. Our supervisors will ensure that there is no damage done to the heritage structure.”