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Reetika Subramanian, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 10, 2013
It could take at least eight more months for your suggestions and objections to the proposed heritage list to be finally heard.
According to senior civic officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the huge number of suggestions and objections to the civic body’s proposed heritage list combine with the lack of adequate manpower to collate the data could delay the process.

“As we have received so many public suggestions and objections, it will take us at least eight more months to collate the data and prepare the final list of objections before conducting the public hearing,” said a senior civic official. “After the public hearing, it will take us a few more months to prepare the final list of objections to be submitted to the state government for notification. The entire process would be completed earliest by March 2014.”

This is not the first time that the publication of the proposed heritage list has been delayed. The draft list was first submitted by the then Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) in 2008, which the BMC  took more than five years to publish to invite public recommendations.

“The delay is worrying. If they take too long to incorporate the recommendations in the law, the city’s heritage may already have suffered substantial damage by the time it’s done. There is a need to conduct a quick review of the proposed heritage grade I and grade II structures to ensure that they are not subjected to redevelopment,” said Brinda Somaya, member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) that submitted the draft list to the civic body in 2008.

“Citizens could also be involved to ensure there is ad hoc conservation of the proposed heritage sites and structures,” she added.

The draft list led to public outcry in August 2012, after questions were raised about granting heritage status to Shivaji Park, Hindu Colony and Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls. Politicians and developers claimed that the heritage status would curb redevelopment.

Former committee chairperson DM Sukthankar said: “Provided the civic body does not grant permission to redevelop the proposed heritage structures, there won’t be any threat to them due to the delay.”