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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Heritage list: 3 months on, suggestions gathering dust

Reetika Subramanian, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 13, 2013
First Published: 00:45 IST(13/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:46 IST(13/1/2013)

More than three months after the civic body stopped accepting suggestions and objections from Mumbaiites to the proposed heritage list, the 3,800 public responses are gathering dust. That's because there is still no sign of the review committee that was to be set up to finalise the heritage list after considering these suggestions and objections.

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While officials from the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claimed that the review committee comprising experts would have to be set up by the state government, officials from the state government say it is not their responsibility.

Civic chief Sitaram Kunte said, "The committee to review public suggestions and recommendations to the list has to be set up by the state government."

Officials from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) washed their hands off the list, saying it was published before the new conservation team was set up.

A state urban development department official said, "I don't think the state can intervene. The BMC itself can set up a review committee of experts. If there are too many objections, the BMC can declare the list problematic and cancel it."

So far, the proposed list, which was published in July 2012 - six years after it was first drafted - has received 3,800 suggestions and recommendations from the public up to the October 6, 2012 deadline. Public responses kept pouring in even months after the deadline. The proposed list comprises 947 structures and 14 precincts. 

In the midst of this blame-game, heritage experts claim that the delay in publishing the final list could further deplete the city's heritage.

"Now that so much has been spoken about the proposed list, I fear there could be a further loss in the city's heritage structures and sites until the final list is published," said Sharad Upasani, who chaired the MHCC that drafted the list in 2006.

"It has been three months since suggestions and objections have been received, and the civic body should initiate some action. Any further delay will cost the city its heritage," he said.


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