IN WHAT may come as a relief to private owners of heritage properties in the city, the BMC plans to generate funds to assist maintenance of the city’s heritage structures and will announce this in its revised draft of the Development Plan 2014-2034.
These funds will primarily be allotted to private owners of heritage buildings who are unable to afford costs of repairs.
Chairman of the Heritage Committee Ramanath Jha, who is also overseeing the revision of the draft DP, said the BMC was in the process of identifying a vacant commercial plot owned by the civic body.
“The BMC can earmark this estate where commercial activities will be carried out. The revenue generated from these events will go towards cross-subsidisation of repairs in heritage buildings,” said Jha. He added that the BMC was yet to identify the commercial property where such events, including live shows or markets, can operate. “If you are imposing restrictions in the manner in which a heritage building can be used, we should provide help to them. Depending on the quantum of income that will be generated, we will decide on the finer details,” he said. In the draft of the DC Regulations, the BMC has thus proposed incentivising maintenance of heritage properties.
Asked about why such an initiative of creating such a fund has not been taken earlier, Jha said there have been other propositions made in the past which were never approved.
“There were propositions involving property tax among others which were not favoured. We are thus considering the idea of cross-subsidisation so that we can give the private owners of heritage properties the funds to carry out repairs where necessary,” he said.
Lauding the move, Heritage Conservationist Abha Lambah said the funds can be helpful in street-scaping measures as well as in maintaining chawls and other small buildings which are privately owned in areas such as Khotachiwadi. “There are genuine cases of historic buildings where private owners are not able to afford costs of repairs. Such funds can even benefit trusts which own buildings like synagogues which are not able to afford the maintenance of the structures,” she said.
She added that in the draft heritage list of 1995, around 20 per cent of the properties are privately owned. However, in the heritage precincts, like Mahaterpakdi, Banganga, Marine Drive, Fort among others, majority of the heritage buildings are privately owned.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines