After a long wait of four years, the first phase of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) ambitious Textile Museum project is nearing completion. The museum is being constructed at the India United Mills compound in Kalachowki and is set to open its doors to the public in October. Currently, the cleaning of the pond and the installation of a three-dimensional nozzle for the musical water fountain's lighting display are underway.
Phase 1 Developments
Phase 1 of the project includes the construction of a souvenir store, restored gates and grills, an amphitheatre, murals, a cafeteria, a ticket window, and seating arrangements for visitors. However, the main highlight of the museum will be a three-dimensional multimedia water fountain situated on top of the pond. The construction of this fountain will soon be completed, adding to the museum's allure.
For the second phase of the project, the BMC has appointed a structural auditor to conduct an assessment of the existing structures in the mill compound. These structures, currently in a dilapidated condition, will be restored and converted into a museum and a library. The audit will pave the way for the restoration process, ensuring the preservation of the heritage structures.
Overcoming Challenges and Delays
The journey to bring this project to fruition has been a lengthy one. The plan to transform India United Mill 2 and 3 into a museum was initially proposed in 2009. However, it wasn't until 2019, following approval from the BMC's standing committee, that work finally commenced. Various challenges, such as acquiring the necessary permissions and finding the appropriate equipment, have contributed to delays. Notably, the search for a suitable three-dimensional nozzle for the light and sound show took some time, with the required component ultimately sourced from China.
Future Steps and Acquisitions
In December 2020, the heritage department obtained permission from the tree authority to remove 22 affected trees, marking progress in Phase 1. The completion of this phase has taken two years, and the final touches, including pond cleaning and nozzle installation, are underway. The aim is to open the musical show to the public in October, although the entry fee is yet to be determined.
"The heritage department received permission from the tree authority to remove 22 affected trees in December 2020. So, it took us two years to complete the work of phase 1. Also, it took some time to find the right nozzle, a crucial part for executing the light and sound show which was finally procured from China. We have now invited a tender for cleaning of the pond, after which the nozzle fitting will be completed. We are planning to open the musical show for the public from October, but the entry fee is yet to be decided," said a senior civic official.
The BMC has secured 34,000 square meters of mill land for the project, while an additional 10,000 square meters is yet to be acquired. The corporation has appointed a consultant to conduct a structural audit of the existing structures, which will inform the restoration process. The first phase of the museum project has incurred costs of Rs. 32 crores.