In the past couple of months, workers digging up the roads around Flora Fountain in the southern part of Mumbai have dug up a lot of mortar and other debris of the modern age. One day, however, they struck figurative gold when they unearthed a part of Mumbai's heritage: tram tracks.
Yes, Mumbai used to have a functioning tram system more than 60 years ago, run by our very own BEST. For some unknown reason, these tram tracks hadn't been removed even when the concrete road was built over the muddy one. Surprisingly, they are in pretty good condition even now.
History enthusiast Vinayak Shetye couldn't agree more. "These tracks represent the building block of the true Make In India that existed. They should be sent to an IIT so their metallurgy can be analysed. They have survived time and tide alike and can benefit us in more than one way."
The tram tracks were moved to the BEST museum at Anik depot. Arvind Dudhvadkar, chairman BEST, said, “This is the city’s heritage and needs to be preserved. We will install the tracks in the museum and mount a working tram brought from Kolkata on it in order to give the patrons an idea of what the trams looked like and how it felt to have seen one running on the road."
The discovery has given hope to heritage lovers that there may be more such relics buried in other parts of the city. Finding such treasures would give the current generation a glimpse into the early days of public transportation.
However, certain history enthusiasts are none too happy about the tracks' new home. “The Anik Depot Museum is on the third floor and very inaccessible," said Shetye, a civil engineer by profession. "I don’t think many people even know of its existence, I wish the government does something about it.”