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

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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.”

  • Cyrus Engineer

    Lata Mangeshkar could stop a flyover near her house but Metro will not listen to the requests of Parsi Community to shift the tunnel away from our holiest well and fire temples.
    They are practically drilling below our shrines and using diagonal distance in feet to fool our community.
    While all measurements are done in metres today, imperial system of feet is used here to show 3 times a distance and fool our community.
    Using diagonal distance is ridiculous as the centre to centre distance on the ground will show the tunnel going just outside the Kebla.
    When Dadi Mistry was in the minority commission, he and his wife Nargish successfully convinced the Delhi metro to move the line away from our Delhi Parsi Anjuman premises. Even the station exit was moved far away to avoid the nuisance of Autorickshaws. The line now passes 50 metres (150 feet) away from our agiary.
    But even then, the agiary well dried up and Delhi Metro installed a Bore well to cover up for the damage.
    Sad that Mumbai Parsi’s are so irresponsible that they cannot move court and stop the destruction of our holy places.
    Please wake up before we loose what is so priceless to all of us…