A seven-foot art installation will come up behind the iconic St Thomas Cathedral with a plaque that will have information about all important milestones and their respective locations.
All the milestones will be QR coded, meaning, if one scans the code with a mobile phone, they will be directed to a portal of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which stores information of the British-era Grade-1 structures.
Rahul Chemburkar, conservation architect and partner of Vaastu Vidhaan Projects, who has been appointed by the BMC to undertake the restoration of these milestones, said, “The information available on a plaque is pretty limited, whereas on digital platform, information won’t be an issue. Another plus point is that it can even be updated time to time.”
Of the 16 milestones, only eight have been discovered. Some stones were destroyed during road widening or got buried as road levels went up with each new layer of tar. Each of the milestones will have a stainless steel plate in the paving with their name, QR code, information and history. To give a yesteryear effect, it will also have cobbled stones around it.
“In the first half of the 19th-century, milestones were placed across the city to show their distance from the St Thomas Cathedral, which is also called ‘Point Zero’. It is said that each of the 16 milestones was at least three-foot-tall so horse-drawn carriages could easily locate them,” said Chemburkar.
Chemburkar added that they are also looking at creating an identity for these distance markers. The milestones came into limelight during a demolition drive by the BMC in Parel last year in April 2017. The local ward office discovered a milestone, with ‘V’ inscribed on it. It was half-buried in a footpath.
While undertaking restoration, conservationists will raise the height of the stones, so that their engravings are visible. The structures will be cleaned, repaired and measured to avoid future encroachments. A fresh survey will also be undertaken to find the missing milestones.