State orders probe into inclusion of Shivaji Park in heritage list

The state government will probe how Shivaji Park was included in the draft heritage list published by the BMC.

Written by Express News Service | Nagpur | Published:December 20, 2013 2:26 am

The state government will probe how Shivaji Park was included in the draft heritage list published by the BMC.

Minister of State for Urban Development Uday Samant announced the inquiry on the floor of the state Assembly following a clamour by the Opposition during the proceedings Thursday.

Samant also said Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan would call an all-party meeting “within 16 days” to discuss issues related to heritage structures. “A discussion on identification of heritage and the non-heritage buildings will be on the agenda,” he said.

Initiating the discussion on a calling-attention motion on the heritage list row,Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai alleged “ulterior motives” behind the “sudden” inclusion of Shivaji Park in the list. “This was done to boost sales of highrises that have come up in Worli,” Desai said,alleging connivance between developers,civic officials and heritage committee members.

“Unlike South Mumbai,where buildings such as the Bombay High Court,BMC headquarters and CST railway station are of heritage importance,Shivaji Park is a residential belt with buildings that are 70-80 years old,” Desai said.

Samant sought an inquiry into how Shivaji Park was included in the list and the Opposition’s allegations,including those against the heritage committee.

Samant added that the powers to add or remove a structure from the heritage list lay with the state. “The government knows Shivaji Park was not on the list of Grade-I and Grade-II heritage structures previously,” he said.

On February 11,the state government had appointed a panel headed by former heritage committee chairperson Dinesh Afzalpurkar to scrutinise the draft heritage list and hear suggestions and objections. “After the report is submitted to the government,we will take a final decision on inclusions and exclusions,” he said.

MNS leader Nitin Sardesai demanded that all Shivaji Park buildings in which redevelopment or repair process was initiated before the publishing of the draft list on July 31,2012,be allowed to go ahead undeterred.

Remaining non-committal in this regard,Samant said the panel would be asked to expedite submission of its report.

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