Around 500 residents from Shivaji Park,Dadar,Kings Circle,Matunga and Sewri are expected to meet Monday evening to protest the proposed categorisation of their residential zones as heritage precincts.
This comes after the start of hearings by the BMCs six-member panel of architects and historians under the chairmanship of former chief secretary Dinesh Afzalpurkar,on 4,038 public responses received last year on the proposed listing of 948 structures. Nearly 800 of these suggestions and objections pertain to the proposed Grade-I classification of the Shivaji Park precinct. The hearings started Friday.
As per the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act,1966,grade-I heritage sites are structures of maximum heritage value that must be preserved carefully. The grade puts severe limitations on any proposed changes to the structure. Such changes are allowed only if necessary to prolong the life of the building and improve safety.
The heritage conservation versus redevelopment debate in this precinct is also part of an ongoing litigation in the Bombay High Court,the next hearing of which is scheduled on January 31. Before this,the Afzalpurkar committee is expected to complete the process of hearings and will submit a report on the precinct after site visits,inspections and document verification.
Afzalpurkar said all those who have sent objections would be heard by the committee in batches twice a week till the last week of December at BMC headquarters. The nature of most of the residents responses is that they fear their buildings are too old and weak,needing major repairs or redevelopment. Residents feel that the heritage status will prevent redevelopment and obstruct their fundamental right, said Afzalpurkar.
Rajya Sabha MP Dr B L Mungekar and Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar are expected to join Mondays protest.