IN ORDER to boost the entertainment profile of the city, the BMC has proposed utilising the dilapidated and defunct cinema theatres in the city and using the space for entertainment-related functions like art galleries and drama theatres in the development plan (DP) draft. A part of the chapter titled “Art, Culture, Recreation and Leisure”, which will be included in the draft of the revised DP 2014-34, the civic body also lists provisions for educational institutions, open spaces and heritage buildings for hosting cultural events.
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The BMC has identified several defunct cinema theatres, mostly in D ward, including Diana theatre and Ganga Jamuna theatre in Tardeo, and Novelty theatre and Naaz theatre on Grant Road, among others. “Theatres which have been closed for several years now should be retained as recreational spaces. If the owner is unable to utilise it, under the accommodation reservation policy, 40 per cent of the land would be surrendered to the MCGM for entertainment-related uses and the BMC will develop the space for cultural activities. The owner can use the remaining space for purposes permitted in the surrounding zone,” said Ramanath Jha, chairperson of the heritage committee.
As per the provision, while the entire space could be used for other uses provided a part of the premises is retained in the form of a 150-seat cineplex, the owner could also use the entire space for other forms of entertainment such as TV studios, art galleries and drama theatres. The provision is aimed at allowing dead assets to be utilised for more productive and contemporary uses.
Citing events like the Kala Ghoda festival and the Equal Streets initiative where the roads are closed to vehicles, the BMC proposes identifying other streets in various wards of the city. “We have identified a few roads in M West and A ward, which can be pedestrianised and are in the process of listing out others which can encourage an informal way of celebrating art and culture in the streets and promenades,” said an official from the DP department.
The BMC also proposes better utilisation of school and college premises when not in use to host cultural events and workshops. “There are many schools and colleges, both government and private, which have lovely grounds which can be opened up to the public after classes are over, especially on Sunday. The school use listed in the DP can be suspended on Sundays and replaced with art and culture user,” said Jha.
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Apart from heritage structures like godowns, forts, gaothans, caves, precincts serving as venues for music or food festivals, the BMC proposes using railway stations to make way for art plazas. The provisions also extend to open spaces such as tanks like Banganga, stadiums, clubs or gymkhanas, spaces under the flyover, beaches which can be used for cultural activities. Another provision in the chapter proposes using fishing villages and the Dhobi Ghat as venues for Koli festivals and food festivals.