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Sena wants to drop half the sites from heritage list

The Shiv Sena, one of the ruling parties in the Brihan-mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is pushing for deletion of at least 50 per cent structures from the proposed Heritage List. The party has decided to exert pressure on the civic administration not to include a number of sites in the final list, as inclusion would hamper redevelopment in the immediate areas of the sites.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus opposite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation head office
One of a kind: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus opposite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation head office is the only ‘Heritage Building’ railway terminus in the world. File pic

This, many believe, is being done with the intention of wooing the Marathi manoos. Mayor Sunil Prabhu has called a special general body meeting today to discuss the matter of the proposed inclusion of some sites in the Heritage List by the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Comm-ittee (MHCC). The meeting will be attended by all 227 corporators and they have decided to oppose the inclusion of several areas or structures in the proposed list. 

“Areas like Shivaji Park and its precincts, BDD chawls, gaothans and koliwadas and other buildings must be deleted from the list, as their inclusion would hamper redevelopment of these areas,” said Shailesh Phanse, leader of the house in the BMC.

He added that a few buildings in Shivaji Park area have been proposed for inclusion under Grade I structure, while the civic headquarter building, which is over 100 years old has been tagged as a Grade II structure.

“We will oppose this move in the general body meeting and demand that some structures be deleted from the list,” Phanse said.

The proposed list includes a cinema hall, statues, schools, colleges, police stations, government staff quarters, churches, temples, masjids, private bungalows, BDD chawls, a lodge, play grounds, gardens, a kabristan, a cemetery, a gaothan, a dispensary, a hospital, a bank, a market, bridges and a post office.

A Shiv Sena leader said on condition of anonymity that they would put pressure on the municipal commissioner to delete maximum number of names of buildings before forwarding it to the state government for the final nod.

Rahul Shewale, chairman of the standing committee, said, “If the structure is really old and iconic from a historical viewpoint, then a fresh committee should be appointed and a resurvey could be conducted.”

V Rangathan chairman of the MHCC said that the state government could then approve the final proposed heritage list. A substantial chunk of the city’s heritage has been lost because of the delay in preparing the list. The MHCC began revising the list in 2005 and finished it in 2007. The list comprises over 800 structures, including over 14 temples, around eight masjids, 20 churches, a Buddhist temple, a Marimma temple and other properties.

Citizens can submit suggestions and objections with the office of the deputy municipal architect on the sixth floor of the BMC head office near CST till the end of September. “About 500 objections have been received so far and there are 15 days left for others to raise objection,” said a civic official. 

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