Mumbai’s iconic Hanging Gardens, a 136-year-old landmark, is going to be shut down in stages for seven years due to the rebuilding of a colonial-era reservoir beneath the park on Malabar Hill.
“The plan is to demolish and rebuild the reservoir over a seven-year period,” said P. Velrasu, Additional Municipal Commissioner (projects). According to a TOI report, the authorities would dismantle and rebuild the entire landscape. During the procedure, trees will be removed, and about 350 trees will be replanted on an adjoining plot.
In response to resident protests, Mumbai’s guardian minister and local MLA MP Lodha have organised a public meeting for Tuesday to address the issue. This reservoir, located at one of the city’s highest points, is designed to use gravity to feed water to the majority of SoBo.
“Since a structural examination showed the Hanging Gardens’ unsafe status, a Rs 698 crore effort to remove it and replace the massive tank beneath it has been underway. The 2017 audit discovered faults in both the columns that support the reservoir’s roof and the garden,”, a report said.
P. Velrasu, the assistant municipal commissioner in charge of the civic hydraulic department, stated that “the BMC has no choice but to entirely dismantle the tank due to its current capacity of 147 million litres”.
Residents of this lush enclave are beginning to understand the far-reaching effects as notices for tree removal and transplantation appear in the neighbourhood of the garden. Of the 389 trees impacted, 189 will be removed, while 200 will be transplanted. Mango, jackfruit, coconut, chikoo, and amla are among the ancient, indigenous trees.
The survival of Mumbai’s Hanging Gardens is in doubt as the city struggles to meet critical infrastructure needs while preserving its rich natural legacy. The planned public discussion on this subject will shed further light on the future of this historic building and its surroundings.
A proposal to enhance the reservoir’s capacity to 191 million litres was accepted by Mumbai’s municipal standing committee in 2022. The reservoir’s original capacity has since been exceeded, and South Mumbai’s predicted population of 3 million has long exceeded it. With towering skyscrapers dotting the metropolitan skyline, expanding water supply capacity is critical to preventing water shortages in some of the area’s most wealthy neighbourhoods.