Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Bhikha Behram Trust wants 292-year-old well in south Mumbai to be protected during Metro-3 work

The Bhikha Behram trust wrote to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) on Wednesday, seeking a fresh survey be conducted to ensure that their centuries-old well will not be damaged by the Metro tunnel.

This comes months after construction work for the Colaba-SEEPZ underground Metro damaged the JN Petit Library in Fort. The incident made the Parsi community wary. They said they would take extra precautions to ensure that their religious places were protected.

Article by Yesha Kotak | Hindustan Times


Metro-3 contractors conducted an initial survey on April 25. They mentioned that a few minor cracks had surfaced on the well. However, the trustees of the well repaired them before they received the report on November 10. The authorities also demanded that a piezometer be installed in the vicinity to check if the well’s water levels were maintained. Water from the well — a Grade I heritage structure — is used for religious ceremonies.

“In 2015, the authorities assured us that a piezometer would be fixed around the well so it wouldn’t run dry owing to the construction work. The well is 292-years-old and plays an important part in our religion,” said Viraf Kapadia, well trustee.

A week ago, the community had protested against the approval given by Zoroastrian senior priest Firoze Kotwal for tunnelling work to be carried out under Wadiaji Atash Behram, a fire temple, at Dhobi Talao.

“In our community, there is no concept of high priest, only the priest has the right to preside over matters of the agiary he is in charge of,” said Perviz Dubash, a member of the community.

However, Kotwal refused to comment on the matter. His secretary said he would prefer to “stay out of these things because they had become too messy”.

Though the Metro authorities refused to comment on whether they would conduct a fresh survey of the well, the spokesperson said, “As a part of our construction protocol, we will certainly be installing instruments such as piezometer to monitor water level when tunnelling reaches closer to that area.”