Mumbai: INTACH joins fight to save Esplanade
Body to file an application at next hearing after analysing IIT-Bombay's structural stability report
In the ongoing case between the tenants of Esplanade Mansion and MHADA, another party has entered the fray to save the UNESCO World Heritage Site from being demolished. Legal representatives of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) attended the hearing at the Bombay High Court on Tuesday and will file an application at the next one, after analysing IIT-Bombay’s structural stability report submitted which was submitted last month.
The efforts to save the heritage structure are being led by INTACH convenor and city historian Rajan Jaikar. "We are interested in protecting the Esplanade Mansion, which is a heritage structure and should not be demolished. We will get IIT-Bombay's report examined by a structural engineer and a heritage conservationist," he said, adding they will submit an affidavit before the next hearing scheduled for June 21.
Meanwhile, Prakash Lad, representing MHADA, stated they had accepted IIT-Bombay's report, which recommended the demolition of the structure, and wanted the court to issue directions for demolition.
Anil Sakhare, who represented the BMC, pointed out that the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee’s decision is still awaited. "The IIT-Bombay report has already been tabled in front of the committee and they will take a decision at their next meeting on June 12," he said.
The Esplanade Mansion, known as the Watson Hotel till the 1960s, is believed to be the country's oldest surviving cast iron building. Heritage conservationists have previously voiced their disapproval of IIT-Bombay's recommendation since they feel the structure can still be repaired and restored.
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