THE BMC’s ambitious plan to redecorate parts of the iconic Fort precinct in south Mumbai is set to be delayed with the municipality receiving poor response from prospective private partners for the project.
The civic body will now have to re-invite bids for the third time in four months. The BMC has planned to restore the precinct’s heritage character, including a pilot project stretching from Flora Fountain to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya or the museum.
It has estimated a cost of Rs 5.5 crore for the project, to be completed in a year. Once completed, heritage walks will be organised for tourists and visitors along the stretch.
A senior official from the BMC’s heritage department said, “When the tenders were floated in October, there was no response from any contractors. On reinviting bids, we received a single bid. Following this, we have decided to reinvite the tender. We are hopeful of getting a better response this time. Even in the eventuality of a single response this time, we can give the contract, as all options have been exhausted.”
“We have plans to restore the complete Fort area, which is also known as the heritage capital of Mumbai. It is a very specialised and skilled job to restore the area back to its old glory,” the official added.
The Fort precinct has the maximum number of heritage buildings with Victorian Gothic style architecture anywhere in the country.
Under the pilot project, the civic body will undertake changes in street lightings, signages, bus stops and billboards in the area.
“The existing bus stops will be replaced with structures that are more in line with the heritage style, using transparent and toughened glass. The street signages, billboards of restaurants and corporate offices will be made uniform. The problem of hawkers will also be solved by moving them to designated places. If they are not ready to move, then we will give them uniformly marked pitches to match the aesthetics of the area,” said an official from the Heritage Cell.
The official added that overgrown trees are to be pruned to a uniform height for better views of the heritage buildings. The footpaths are to be made more pedestrian-friendly for better access to the heritage lane.
“A heritage walk can also be arranged once the project is completed. Currently, the condition of the lane is pathetic and most places are encroached by hawkers,” he said.