Malabar Hill reservoir doesn’t require demolition, says experts’ panel | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Malabar Hill reservoir doesn’t require demolition, says experts’ panel

By, Mumbai
Jan 09, 2024 08:12 AM IST

A committee appointed by the BMC has ruled out the demolition of the Malabar Hill reservoir and suggested only minor repairs for the 137-year-old structure. The committee's interim report stated that no demolition is required and repairs can be planned over time without affecting water supply. The final report is expected soon.

The seven-member committee, appointed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has ruled out demolition of the Malabar Hill reservoir for its reconstruction as earlier planned by the civic body and has suggested only minor repairs for the 137-year-old structure located beneath the iconic Hanging Gardens.

Mumbai, India - Dec. 7, 2023: View of (Kappa) empty section of the Tank, Malabar Hill Reservior, which was internally inspected by an expert committee consisting of IIT Powai professors, local experts citizens and BMC official, to review the current proposal and to suggest the appropriate course of action , at Malabar hill, in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, December 7, 2023. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - Dec. 7, 2023: View of (Kappa) empty section of the Tank, Malabar Hill Reservior, which was internally inspected by an expert committee consisting of IIT Powai professors, local experts citizens and BMC official, to review the current proposal and to suggest the appropriate course of action , at Malabar hill, in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, December 7, 2023. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

On Monday, the committee submitted an interim report to the BMC commissioner and administrator, Iqbal Singh Chahal. HT is in possession of a copy of the report.

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A final report on the matter is expected soon.

An expert on the panel said the interim report talks about only functional repairs which are majorly non-structural. “No demolition is required, and this is a unanimous decision.”

Another expert reiterated what has been said all along during their inspection of the reservoir in December that the condition of the five tanks is good.

The report elaborated that there is no urgency for the repairs, and it can be planned over time so that there is minimum disturbance to the water supply in south Mumbai and they may not even need a spare tank, a civic official, who did not wish to be named, said.

HT has learnt that the hydraulic engineer on the committee requires more time to study when the reservoir will be shut for repairs.

“If at all a study of the hydraulics is required, when it is repaired part by part, maybe a temporary tank can be constructed to ensure water supply is not affected. The repairs are minor in nature,” the civic official quoted above said.

In 2017, a structural audit carried out by DD Kulkarni, a private structural consultant appointed by BMC, found that the reservoir was in a dilapidated condition and required repairs in a phase-wise manner. Later, some structural engineers, including ones from IIT Bombay, recommended demolition in one go due to the precarious nature of the reservoir.

HT had on November 7 reported on BMC constituting a seven-member committee to submit a report on various feasibility aspects involved in the Malabar Hill reservoir reconstruction project.

The panel has four experts from IIT Bombay - professors Alok Goyal, R S Jangid, Jothi Prakash and Dasaka Murthy, two civil engineers - Vasudev Noori and A Seth, and local representative and architect Rahul Kadri. Deputy municipal commissioner (special engineering), CH Kandalkar, is also on board.

The committee’s scope was to find out if the existing reservoir could be repaired without constructing an alternative tank or affecting the water supply. It was also tasked to explore whether phase-wise reconstruction was feasible without disrupting the water supply to citizens.

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