Political,public pressure may force change in heritage list

With people and politicians up in arms,Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee members and civic officials hinted on Sunday at a possible revision of the heritage list.

Written by Stuti Shukla | Mumbai | Published:September 11, 2012 2:12 am

With people and politicians up in arms,Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) members and civic officials hinted on Sunday at a possible revision of the heritage list.

MHCC has received over 400 suggestions and objections to the proposed inclusion of 948 structures and precincts in the list in the three weeks since it was published by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on August 20. The responses have been mostly from residents and institutes likely to be affected.

The proposed inclusion of Shivaji Park and structures in its periphery as a grade-I heritage precinct is being opposed by Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and also by a large section of residents seeking redevelopment of old buildings.

Heritage structures are graded as I,II (A and B) and III,and even minor changes to grade I structures or precincts require MHCC approval.

A senior official in the municipal architect department said following a fresh review of the 948 structures,Shivaji Park was likely to be downgraded.”

“While it may be too early to predict whether Shivaji Park will stay on the list at all,it is most likely to be downgraded to either grade II or III. The only other heritage precinct in the city is Five Gardens,which is grade III,” said the official.

Sophia College in Breach Candy is among the institutes that have written to MHCC expressing displeasure over inclusion in the list. Following the political uproar over the issue,the deadline for receiving feedback was extended from August 31 to September 30.

MHCC chairman V Ranganathan said the committee had not yet received directions to review the list drawn up first in 2005 and finalised in 2008.”

“We have to wait till September 30 after which the Urban Development Department (UDD) will take a call on whether to direct MHCC to carry out a fresh review of these structures. The government may appoint a separate committee for this purpose,” said Ranganathan.

The revised list was drawn up by a team of heritage experts and submitted to MHCC in 2005. MHCC then sent a detailed report to the UDD in 2008. Three months later,the department directed the BMC to publish the list. Since then it was gathering dust till it was finally published last month.

An MHCC member admitted over-enthusiasm in including some structures and precincts in the revised list. “In 2009,UDD had issued orders that redevelopment of grade-III buildings and precincts need not be approved by MHCC. This is why the new list tags a lot of structures as grade I. If this order is revoked,there will be no need for such radical and aggressive reaction by MHCC,” the member said.

Relief in sight for shivaji park

The proposed inclusion of Shivaji Park and structures in its periphery as a grade-I heritage precinct is being opposed by the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and also by a large section of residents seeking redevelopment of old buildings

A senior official in the municipal architect department said following a fresh review of the 948 structures,Shivaji Park was likely to be downgraded

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