Pune, Oct 21: A mysterious 150-year-old tunnel was discovered by PWD workers beneath the Sassoon General Hospital here on Monday.
The workers were installing a lift, when they stumbled upon the concrete tunnel during excavation near the main hospital building.
The tunnel was eight feel below the ground level and was nearly 20 feet deep. Made of black stones, one part of the tunnel is straight while the other bends towards the left, which ends at a concrete wall. Workers say, the demolition of the wall can reveal a third way inside the tunnel.
The hospital's 1936 original building plan is being checked, which, however, does not mention a tunnel having been ever built. The Sassoon hospital was built by a Jewish trader David Sassoon in 1867.
U V Puri, engineer, Civil department, PWD, said, “We had to unearth this ‘hidden' basement to support the duct in order to prevent damage to the building's structure. Once this basement is completely exposed, we will scrutinise its structure and thereafter, install the lift.”
Mahatma Gandhi underwent appendectomy surgery in this hospital on January 12, 1924. Meher Baba was born in this hospital on February 25, 1894.
An old timer at the hospital, who refused to disclose his name, told Pune Mirror, that the basement was visible till as late as 1985-86. “A wild cat was found here in 1985 because of which the area around the basement was filled with sand,” he said.
As per information available with the PWD, the basement is 17ft deep and is supposed to be as big as the building itself.