The Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika (BMC) has initiated a pilot project for restoring the heritage of Mumbai’s Fort precinct. The model “heritage lane” is an attempt to reiterate the heritage lane of MG road to its past glory. The magnanimous heritage buildings along the stretch of 900 metres on this road are likely to regain their visibility soon. BMC is promoting the initiative under the label of “Visible Heritage.”

As per the proposal, MG road holds the largest number of heritage buildings. Over the decades, these monumental structures have become unnoticeable because of unplanned billboards, uneven footpaths, overgrown trees, stalls, bus stops and unauthorized hawkers unanimously stalling visitor’s view of the lane. The project scope incorporates enhancing the street views for the National Gallery of Modern Art, Prince of Wales Museum, Esplanade mansion and Mumbai University.

The project cost is estimated to be at Rs. 7.51 crores. The work is expected to be completed in 10 months following which; they entitle the contractor to maintain the restored precinct for 3 years. BMC has received multiple bids from contractors for restoring the lane. The Standing Committee of BMC is yet to finalize contractors post the tender bid. The contractor is expected to redecorate the street in accordance with its heritage characteristics. Once the contractor is finalized, the restoration work would start shortly.

An official from BMC’s heritage department quoted that as part of the pilot project, street lights, signages, streets, bus stops and billboards in the area would be changed. As an example, he illustrated that bus stops would be replaced with structures using transparent and toughened glass for an aesthetic look. He added further that billboards of restaurants and corporate offices would be made uniform. Also, overgrown trees will be pruned to a uniform height. They would design the footpath as pedestrian friendly. The committee is also working on organizing heritage walks in the lane after the completion of restoration work.

The project largely implies standardization of direction signage, bringing uniformity of street furniture. This could include the reorganizing of dustbins, tree gratings, benches, etc. Removing encroachments and displaying information plaques at heritage buildings. The footpath pavement also would be re-engineered to make them disabled friendly. An official asserted that provided the “heritage lane” model emerges successful, the same can be repeated in heritage precincts. The additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC, asserted that their aim is to highlight the heritage precinct by re-doing the landscape in a way that it would remove any kind of improper view.

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