CM tells MMRDA to restore Banganga

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has handed over restoration of the Banganga tank to MMRDA following a meeting with Mayor Sunil Prabhu.

The Mayor, who met the Chief Minister and the development authority under him on Monday, said a proposal was presented demanding that restoration of the tank be expedited. "MMRDA has a heritage fund that must be used for MMR area. In the city alone, there are sites such as the Banganga that are of great historical significance and that require immediate attention. MMRDA should make a master plan for restoration of the tank for which it should devote some of its funds," said Prabhu.

He said a plea was also made to CM to see to preservation of listed heritage sites before adding more buildings and structures to the list.

In 2009, Archaeology and Museums Department completed first phase of restoration of the tank. The work was met with stiff opposition and disapproval from Walkeshwar locals who felt the quality of work on the heritage structure was shoddy. They said the original glory of the place was being lost in the modernisation as original stones on the northern and eastern ends were removed and replaced by concrete slabs at a cost of Rs 1.8 crore.

The department was then pulled up by Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil, Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir and Collector Nirmal Deshpande. Conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah and archaeologist Arvind Jamkhedkar were then appointed to assist in the restoration. The project since has not seen any major development.

The Banganga tank has a rectangular pool surrounded by steps on all four sides. It has sweet water despite its proximity to the sea and is considered a holy place by many.

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