Thursday, June 13, 2024

132-year-old tunnel discovered under Mumbai’s JJ Hospital

A 132-year-old tunnel-like structure has been found on the premises of the government-run JJ Hospital in Mumbai, officials said on Friday.

The 200-metre-long structure was found under a building which originally housed the Sir Dinshaw Manockjee Petit Hospital for Women and Children. It was later converted into a nursing college.

The tunnel came to light during an inspection of the building following a complaint of water leakage, officials said.

The foundation stone of the British-era heritage building was laid by Lord Reay, then Governor of Bombay, on January 27, 1890, said Dr Arun Rathod, Medical Superintendent of the hospital.

Hospital Dean Dr Pallavi Saple told PTI that they have apprised the Mumbai collector and Maharashtra Archaeology Department about the discovery as the building is a heritage structure.

Dr Rathod, who inspected the structure from inside, told PTI that it is 4.5 feet high and has several brick pillars. The entrance is sealed with a stone wall, he said.

They entered after opening what looked like a sealed ventilation duct, three ft-by-three ft in size. There are many such sealed openings on the front and the rear side of the structure, he said.

According to some former hospital employees, another British-era building located behind this building has a similar structure underneath, but it was yet to be verified, said Dr Rathod.

The two buildings could be connected by a tunnel but this was only a conjecture at this point, he said.

The building under which the tunnel was found was designed by architectural executive John Adams and inaugurated on March 15, 1892. The construction cost was Rs 1,19,351, Rathod said.

The JJ Hospital campus houses several British-era heritage structures.

“We are now planning to start a heritage walk through the hospital premises,” said Dr Saple.

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