Mumbai: Cooperage Bandstand ready, but Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar isn't

By Laxman Singh | Mumbai

Updated: Sep 12, 2018, 16:39 IST

145-year-old heritage space restored to its original glory, but city's first citizen Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has no time to inaugurate it

The Bandstand has been shut since January 2017. Walkers have been using the refurbished shed to rest. Pics/Atul Kamble

The historic Cooperage Bandstand, all of 145 years old, has been waiting for the past three weeks for Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar to open its spruced up gates to the public. Locals have not been able to enjoy the facilities since January 2017, when the section was shut for renovation. The BMC spent Rs 50 lakh on restoring this heritage structure.

The restoration work, which commenced in January 2017, included revival of the wooden canopy with original Burma teak wood and replacing the tiled roof of the Bandstand with metal sheets. According to the civic officials, the contract for restoration was awarded to conservation firm Vaastu Vidhaan Projects last year.

The BMC spent Rs 50 lakh on restoring the Cooperage Bandstand

A senior civic official from the BMC said, "Restoration was completed a month back. We have sent a formal letter to Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar to do the formal inauguration of this historical place so that people across the city will get to know about its heritage value."

He added, "However, there has been no response from the mayor's office. When we followed up, we were informed that the dates will be given soon." Despite repeated attempts mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar was not available for comment.

An official said, "Up until the 60s the Navy and Police bands used to perform here but later it was stopped. There is a plan of restarting the band performances but it is at very initial stage." Keeping that in mind, the seats in the garden have also been given a facelift so that citizens can enjoy the performances in the future.

Rs 50 lakh
Cost of renovation and restoration of the Bandstand

Musical hub
According to officials, Cooperage Bandstand was a hub for musical bands. Among all other bands that performed here, the Navy's band was the most popular. Like the bandstand at Cooperage many others were developed at Horniman Circle, Hanging Garden, King's Circle, Dadar Parsi and Girgaum Chowpatty.

Not the first time
In August, the opening of MTNL flyover in Goregaon was delayed as the mayor was not available to inaugurate the flyover. Later, it was opened without any inauguration. Similarly, the newly-constructed Chembur swimming pool was caught up in an inauguration row, where a fight between Sena and BJP had delayed its opening. This project too was opened without an inauguration.

Locals say
Haresh Hathirmani, Colaba resident
'If something so prestigious has been done then what is stopping them from inaugurating it? The restoration of a heritage site is a good initiative and he (mayor) should step out and open it as soon as possible'

Manoj Karpe, Churchgate resident
'The BMC should immediately open such historical places. Since bandstand is of heritage value, the civic body should create awareness and information of this place by doing the inauguration as soon as possible'.

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