The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the landlord of Esplanade Mansion in south Mumbai to provide an estimated cost of restoration and conservation of the heritage building that houses over 140 tenants.
The direction came after an expert committee submitted conflicting estimates ranging from Rs 23 crore to Rs 98 crore. The state government and MHADA told the court that they were unable to bear the expenses. The counsel for landlord, however, agreed to get the estimate after some tenants expressed willingness to contribute to the conservation of the building. The court gave the landlord a week to submit the estimate.
A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice B P Colabawalla was hearing a plea on conservation and restoration of the Grade-2 heritage structure.
Abha Lamba, one of the experts, submitted an estimate cost of Rs 98 crore, stating that besides structural stability, the architectural stability of the building was also considered.
However, the counsel for MHADA told the court that the authority did not have the fund to bear the expenses of the privately-owned Esplanade Mansion.
Additional Government Pleader Himanshu Takke told the court that the cost would burden the state exchequer, though it had assured UNESCO of making efforts to restore the heritage structure.
Counsel for the landlord submitted that some of the tenants had expressed willingness to contribute for the conservation of the structure. The landlord will decide whether to undertake the same and try to come up with the total estimate in the range of Rs 50 crore, the counsel submitted.
The bench allowed landlord’s request and posted the matter for further hearing on February 20.
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