Mumbai’s popular and oldest tourist spot, Hanging Gardens, will remain closed for a period of 7 years.
The 136-year-old landmark will be shut in phased manner and remain out of bounds for construction work.
If reports are to be believed, the entire landscape will most likely be demolished for reconstruction work of a colonial-era reservoir, which is located under the garden on Malabar Hill. In the process, trees will be cut down and while nearly 400 trees will be transplanted on an adjoining plot.
Of the total trees on the chopping block, 189 would have to be cut while 200 will have to be transplanted.
Situated at one of the highest points in the city, this reservoir is engineered to distribute water to most parts of SoBo via gravitational force.
The INR 698-crore proposal to dismantle the Hanging Gardens and reconstruct the massive tank beneath it has been in progress ever since a structural examination revealed its precarious condition.
A senior official of BMC’s water works department said that if all the permissions are received, the work will be started by November 2023.
The 2017 audit uncovered weaknesses in the roof of the reservoir, which supports the garden, as well as the columns beneath it. P Velrasu, the additional municipal commissioner overseeing the civic hydraulic department, emphasized that the tank’s current condition, capable of holding 147 million liters, leaves the BMC with no room for partial demolition.
Reports further stated that the BMC’s standing committee had cleared the proposal to increase its capacity to 191 million litres back in 2022. Corporators backed the project as south Mumbai’s estimated 3 million population is far above what the reservoir was originally built to handle. With skyscrapers increasingly dotting its skyline, supply capacity needs to be augmented for the poshest areas of the city to avert water cuts.
Responding to the protests from residents, Mumbai’s guardian minister and local MLA MP Lodha has arranged a public meeting on Tuesday, September 26, to address the issue.