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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Citizens initiate heritage site nomination

Vaishnavi Vasudevan , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 08, 2013
First Published: 10:07 IST(8/7/2013) | Last Updated: 10:12 IST(8/7/2013)

Residents’ association and stakeholders of Victorian and art deco structures in the island city gave their approval recently to nominate structures in the area for the World heritage Site status listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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A view of heritage buildings around Oval Maidan. SoBo’s neo gothic structures are on a tentative heritage list.

South Mumbai's neo Gothic monuments and art deco buildings are currently mentioned in a tentative UNESCO heritage list.

A total of 108 structures in the island city comprise the plan prepared by Mumbai-based Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) in 2012.

These structures include buildings surrounding Oval Maidan and along Marine Drive.
The heritage status ensures a strict control on any external change but allows for minor internal changes.

“I will be proud to be part of a world heritage site, if this area gets nominated. It is important to preserve historic structures in the city and we all have supported it willingly,”said Nayana Kathpalia, trustee, Oval Trust.

Representatives of 20 associations were present at the meeting held on Thursday to give their approval.

Stakeholders will meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan this month to submit their dossier.

The state government will send the proposal to the union ministry of culture, responsible for reviewing it and deciding whether the nomination can be sent to the UN.

"I am glad that we have received tremendous support from residents and owners. If the dossier and the plan are approved by the central government, it will be India's official entry for the World Heritage Site," said Abha Lambah, a conservation architect.

“This is unique because citizens themselves initiated the process to get the area nominated as a Heritage site. Usually it is the state government which decides and sends the nominations,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director, UDRI.

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