Opening a tunnel unearths underground bunker
Mumbai/Nagpur: A 150-meter long underground British era Bunker which had been closed for several decades was discovered by Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao inside the Raj Bhavan Complex at Malabar Hill. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to visit the Bunker late in the evening today.
The Governor accompanied by his wife Vinodha visited the bunker on Thursday (August 16, 2016) after which the Governor expressed his intention to consult experts from various fields to preserve it.
About three months ago, when the Governor was informed by old-timers that there exists a tunnel inside Raj Bhavan, the Governor asked to get it opened.
On August 12, 2016 when the staff of the Public Works Department at Raj Bhavan broke open a temporary wall that closed the entrance to the bunker on the Eastern side, they were surprised. Instead of an underground tunnel, an entire barrack with 13 rooms of different size was found. The bunker opens with a 20-feet tall gate and a ramp on the Western side. There are long passages and small to medium rooms on either side.
The Bunker spread over an area of more than 5,000 square feet has rooms bearing the name Shell Store, Gun Shell, Cartridge Store, Shell Lift, Pump, Workshop etc. There are also scores of Lamp Recesses in the gangway.
Even though the Bunker was apparently closed after Independence, it was found to be surprisingly intact. Interestingly the entire underground bunker has a drainage system and inlets for fresh air and light.
According to the History of Raj Bhavans in Maharashtra, Raj Bhavan, formerly known as ‘Government House’ served as the residence of British Governors since 1885 when Lord Reay turned it into a permanent residence. Prior to 1885, the Malabar Hill residence served as the Summer Residence of the British Governors. The Government House at Parel served as the Governor’s residence before 1885.