Mumbai: Bombay High Court stays tunnelling work at Petit library

Mumbai: In good news for century old heritage structures in Fort, the Bombay High Court on Friday stayed the tunnelling work being carried out for the Metro III line.

The court has stayed the excavation work on D.N. Road, which houses several heritage buildings, for two weeks. The court has also appointed a committee that will conduct a survey to ascertain if the tunnelling work is having an adverse impact on the heritage structures.

The committee headed by an expert from the IIT-Bombay will submit its report within two weeks. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar was hearing a petition moved by the J. N. Petit library.

The library had claimed that the tunnelling work for Metro III line is creating vibrations that are more than the permissible limits of 5mm per second.

The trustees of the library informed the judges that a heavy limestone finial adorning a portion of the building’s ceiling had collapsed on August 25, due to the vibrations created by the tunnelling work.

Earlier, on Thursday, Chief Justice Chellur had said that stopping the work altogether was not the solution. She had accordingly said that she would be consulting experts from IIT-Bombay, who are presently overseeing the structural survey of the high court building.

The J. N. Petit library is a grade II A heritage building built in neo Gothic revival style; it was given an award by UNESCO for cultural heritage conservation in 2015. It is used as a reading room and the library has one lakh books, including 2,400 rare books and 12 manuscripts dating to the 17th century.

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