Mumbai: Committee, MHADA delay restoration report

Updated: 18 December, 2019 07:11 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Lack of coordination between members and MHADA has resulted in the committee not being able to submit its final report on time

Esplanade Mansion. File pic
Esplanade Mansion. File pic

The day (Wednesday) has arrived for the HC-appointed committee to present its report on whether the Esplanade Mansion could be restored, but they are yet to submit it – thanks to the lack of coordination between the members and MHADA. While one of the members visited the heritage structure last week, the other two are still awaiting permission from MHADA to enter the premises.

The committee of independent architects was formed on December 2. Division bench of justices S J Kathawalla and B P Colabawalla had initially picked structural architect Chetan Raikar and conservation architects Abha Narain Lambah and Vikas Dilawari as members. However, Dilawari later backed out citing personal reasons and conservation architect Pankaj Joshi replaced him last week.

The team was directed to determine whether the Grade II heritage structure could be restored and the costs involved in it. The HC had given the three-member panel time until the hearing to be held today.  

Rajan Jayakar, convenor of INTACH and petitioner in the case said that he had written to Prakash Lad, the advocate representing MHADA, on behalf of Abha Lambah, a committee member, but didn't get the go-ahead from MHADA.

"I had written to MHADA's advocate asking for permission to visit the Esplanade Mansion twice last week. The first time they said we were supposed to apply within 24 hours of the court order, and the next time they said they couldn't give access on a Sunday," said Jayakar.
Officials from MHADA, however, pointed out that there were coordination issues within the committee. An official said that one of the committee members, Chetan Raikar, had visited the heritage structure twice last week without any problem. When contacted, Raikar said that he would be submitting a status report during the hearing.

Meanwhile, Lad said, "There is no coordination among the committee members. We received letters from Raikar asking for permission to inspect the structure and we  allowed him. I received an email from the other members asking for permission to visit on Sunday. But since it's a holiday, I couldn't communicate with MHADA officials, and have mentioned the same in my reply." He added that the issue would be discussed during the hearing today. 

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First Published: 18 December, 2019 07:05 IST

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