80-year-old underground tunnels discovered during Metro digging in Pune
Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha-Metro) has unearthed two underground tunnels at Swargate in Pune , while carrying out its underground tunneling for laying of the metro rail line.
The tunnels, according to archaeologists, date back to the 1940s and were used to transport water from one location, possibly from Katraj lake to the Peth areas.
Maha-Metro officials said on Friday that these tunnels, referred to as “water channels”, were discovered as work for the construction of the Swargate multimodal transport hub is on.
Hemant Sonawane, general manager, Public Relation Office (PRO), Maha-Metro said, “It was 4 pm on Thursday, when we discovered two underground channels near Swargate as machine work for the metro corridor from Swargate to Shivajinagar was underway. Workers spotted a hollow spot which broke open when the machines exerted pressure to dig for the underground metro route.”
According to Sonawane, senior officials immediately rushed to the spot to inspect the new development and found two channels - 57 metres in length, six feet in height - closed at both ends. “We suspect that there was a water treatment plant which was built by the then governing agencies, which had not been under maintenance for a very long time,” said Sonawane.
According to Sonawane, these water channels had pipes 11-inch thick connected to a water canal that flows from the Khadakwasla dam to the city.
“This clearly does not have a historical significance as the construction was done using iron pipelines and stones,” he said.
Mandar Lawate, historical researcher in the city said, “These water channels were built for efficient water management. Decades ago, water had to be brought into the city from Katraj lake. It is likely that is when these channels were built.”
Swargate’s multi-modal transport hub facility will integrate all public transport services — Metro rail, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) and Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses, auto rickshaws and private vehicles.
The Metro will run underground for a five-kilometre stretch, from Agriculture College grounds to Swargate.
The multi-modal transport hub at Swargate will be built on 23 acres land of land. MahaMetro has four acres of land at Swargate and the metro station has been planned underground.