Residents of old buildings at Matunga, Dadar (East), King’s Circle and the Five Gardens precinct can heave a sigh of relief. The Bombay High Court has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to allow redevelopment work to be done on the structures that were named in a proposed heritage list in 2012.
A resident points to the cracks in the building’s structure at Dadar-Matunga area. File pic
The list had proposed changing these structures from Grade III to Grade IIA, which means redevelopment or even repair work would require permission of the heritage committee. Several residential buildings were given this Grade IIA tag, causing great distress to inhabitants, most of whom were senior citizens.
MiD DAY reports on the issue
The residents lived in fear of collapse every day, as chunks of plaster came down, staircases creaked and columns turned weak. The list, which was made way back in 2007, even included some buildings that were demolished in a couple of years for redevelopment.
As a result of the heritage tag, the construction work was stopped. The Afzalpurkar Committee had been set up to hear grievances in all such cases. MiD DAY had carried reports on the issue regularly.
After the Dadar Matunga Residents Association filed a petition in the Bombay High Court in the second week of January, asking that the redevelopment be allowed, on February 4 the court came out with an order saying the approval of the heritage committee was not needed for these buildings.
According to the order, the civic body will have to approve the redevelopment under sections 33(6) to 33(10) of the Development Control Rules, and process the files as per the current law.
The stalled redevelopment work can now start and any other buildings in the Five Garden precinct, wishing to apply for redevelopment, can now do so. Residents claimed that even the attorney general of the state was in their favour, which added further weight to their petition.
Raxit Prasad, secretary of the Dadar Matunga Residents Association, said, “Many buildings in our area need to be redeveloped; they were in a very bad state. Now, with this judgment, we are in a position to start work on most of the held-over Dadar Matunga projects.”
Babubhai Bhavanji, ex deputy mayor of the city and a resident of Dadar (East), added, “The order came as a relief to us. Now, we do not have to wait for the heritage committee’s approval. We expect to get our projects processed faster and do not have to live in fear of collapse.”
A resident points to the cracks in the building’s structure at Dadar-Matunga area. (Below) MiD DAY reports on the issue. File pic