Heritage body may turn down Shiv Sena's plan for 8 times larger Bal Thackeray memorial

The Heritage Committee will write to the BMC to explain that a larger memorial to Bal Thackeray cannot be allowed in Shivaji Park as it is designated as a playground

The Shiv Sena might not be able to go through with its intended birthday present to late party supremo Bal Thackeray, as the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) will decline the party’s wishes to expand Thackeray’s memorial at Shivaji Park to eight times its current size. mid-day had reported last month how the Sena was hoping to not only enlarge the memorial site, but also cordon it off with an iron grille and gate, just in time for Thackeray’s birth anniversary on January 29.

Also read: Shiv Sena's intended birthday present to Bal Thackeray: 8 times larger memorial at Shivaji Park

Already, the Sena has staked claim over a much larger area than it’s permitted — although it has permission for the 12x6 metre mound on which the memorial torch is placed, temporary aluminium sheets fence off an eight times larger area. File pic
Already, the Sena has staked claim over a much larger area than it’s permitted — although it has permission for the 12x6 metre mound on which the memorial torch is placed, temporary aluminium sheets fence off an eight times larger area. File pic

However, the memorial site — featuring an akhand jyot (eternal flame) — lies in Shivaji Park, which is a heritage site that also falls in the coastal zone. So the Sainiks will first need permission from the Heritage Committee and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) before they can go ahead with their plans.

“We believe it will be inappropriate to allow such an enclosure within Shivaji Park, which is a playground. It will set a bad precedent. A letter to this effect will be sent to the Garden Cell next week,” said a senior official from MHCC.

This might stall the Sena’s plans to have the enclosure ready by Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary on January 23. The party has already staked claim on a larger area than permitted, placing an unsightly aluminium fence to mark off 27x21 metres around the memorial torch, even though it only has permission for the 6x12 metre mound on which the torch is installed. When mid-day asked the heritage official whether these aluminium sheets would be removed, he said that was yet to be decided.

The official added that since Shivaji Park falls in the coastal zone, the MCZMA’s remarks must also taken into consideration.

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