For the first time since it was built around 121 years ago, the Anglo-Gothic style heritage building housing the Mumbai police’s headquarters is undergoing a major restoration work, a senior official said.
The landmark building, having an old world charm and commonly known as the police commissioner’s office, is located at the busy Crawford Market in South Mumbai.
Designed by architectural executive, engineer and surveyor John Adams, the iconic building’s construction work had commenced on November 17, 1894 and it was inaugurated on December 24, 1896.
Since its inauguration, various police commissioners, including Jehangir Bharucha, Julio Ribeiro, Hasan Gafoor, Satyapal Singh, Sanjeev Dayal and Rakesh Maria, operated from this historical building.
The ground-plus-three storeyed building’s restoration, entrusted to the Public Works Department’s presidency division, is estimated to cost around Rs 15 crore, a senior police official said.
The restored building’s ground floor will have a police museum, which will showcase exhibits evoking memories of the landmark incidents in the city’s crime chronicles.
There will be a big library attached to the museum, he said.
There will also be a spacious record and storage room along with a lavishly appointed corridor, the official said.
On the first floor, the authorities plan to set up a conference room with a seating capacity of 50, a lounge and a waiting room, he said.
The offices of the police commissioner and the joint commissioner of police (law and order) will also be renovated, he said, adding that plans for revamping the second and third floors were yet to be finalised.
The internal restoration is expected to be completed in the next three months while the outside work will take about a year, he said.
“As the building is very old, its restoration and repairs have become necessary,” Mumbai’s police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar said.
“When the building was constructed in 1894, there was no electricity. Gas lamps were in use when the construction began. The work was carried out in the light of gas lamps at night. Now, we are replacing the old electrical wiring with the optical fibre cables,” Padsalgikar said.
Since the building is a heritage structure, the permission of the heritage committee, which includes district collector, PWD’s executive engineer, deputy director of town planning and a professor from the J J School of Arts, was obtained before starting the restoration work, another police official said.