With 70 per cent or nearly three-fourths of the heritage structures in the city not marked in the draft development plan (DP) 2034, architects and town planning experts want the revision committee to consider heritage as an asset and not a liability while determining the city’s future for the next 20 years.
Vikas Dilawari, a conservation architect said, “Not marking the heritage structures is just one side of the story. The DP doesn’t even have a separate chapter on heritage and conservation. One has to only read the executive summary to understand the importance given to floor space index or FSI alone. The authorities need not take extreme steps, but considering heritage as an asset to the city is the most essential step while planning.”
Some of the glaring exclusions in DP are the listed Grade I Town Hall, one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in India and which houses the Asiatic Society of Bombay, the landmark Marine Drive precinct, whose collection of Art Deco buildings are the second largest in the world after Florida’s Miami beach, many of the Victorian Neo-Gothic and Indo-Saracenic structures that adorn the Fort precinct and the British-era open spaces including the Grade I Oval Maidan.
In an elaborate letter, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has also pointed out grave errors and demanded immediate rectification. V Ranganathan, chairman of the committee, said, “Apart from the omissions, we have also pointed out to the wording in relation to heritage in the regulations. We have also demanded incentives for people residing in heritage structures.”