Civic body chalks out proposal to help iconic heritage statue regain some of its lost glory
The citys oldest Parsi gentleman the 149-year-old cast iron Khada Parsi,or the statue of Shet Cursetjee Manockjee is set to regain some lost glory.
Despite earlier Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to shift the iconic statue to Five Gardens,Wadala,and then to the Mumbai Fire Brigade headquarters,the Khada Parsi will now be restored in situ,the Byculla flyover junction. The restoration will also include the fountain at the base of the Corinthian column and replacement of the four-feet tall lamps that were stolen in the 1970s.
The local ward committee had proposed to shift the statue to the Fire Departments building opposite the statue at Byculla. The shifting was opposed by many and was not feasible as it could endanger the Grade I heritage structure. It has now been decided that the statue will remain at its original place, said an official of the Heritage Department.
A proposal for restoration will soon be submitted to the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee. The work will begin once the Traffic and Road departments give the required permission and it is expected to be completed in six months.
The civic administration had,in 2007,proposed the restoration and repair of eight Grade I structures owned by it and these included the Khada Parsi,Flora Fountain and a set of drinking water pyaus. Consultant to the BMC and conservation architect Pankaj Joshi,who is undertaking the repair of grand old Parsi statue,said that the main task will be to replace the missing elements of the fountain and to repair the broken pieces.
There are a lot of details and features that are missing. Also over the years,air pollution has damaged the structure, he said.
The statue had four large lamps midway up the column that were replaced in the 1920s. The four-feet-tall lamps,whose base brackets still exist,were stolen in the 1970s. To bring alive the mermaid-fountain,the base will have to be dug up to find the old water pipeline.
The statue it now stands squashed at the V of a two-armed flyover also has encroachments at its base. Also,parts of the cast iron have been scraped off or are completely broken. After the restoration,a preventive enclosure will be put up surrounding the statue. A security enclosure is necessary to ensure that there is no further encroachment and that all its parts remain intact, said Joshi. An information plaque will also be displayed.
The statue of Shet Manockjee was erected and installed in the memory of the illustrious Parsi gentleman in the 1860s. It was made to order by the youngest son,Manockjee Cursetjee,at a princely sum of Rs 20,000 and was later gifted to the BMC on the condition that it would be kept in proper repair.