Mumbai’s heritage committee on Thursday ruled out the possibility of any new constructions in the Crawford Market complex.
The decision is a blow to shopkeepers whose contentious redevelopment plans for the 140-year-old Grade 1 heritage site included constructing modern buildings adjacent to the civic market’s clock tower and fountain.
Shopkeepers had roped in a developer to revamp the 22,500 sq m precinct, and the decision was cleared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s elected body last September, despite public protests. The plan was awaiting approval from the heritage panel, an advisory body to the BMC, and the civic chief. Bipin Sankhe, heritage committee member and chief architect to the state government, said: “The law is clear that no intervention is possible in Grade I sites.”
Quoting the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning law, the committee said: “No interventions would be permitted… unless it is necessary in the interest of strengthening and prolonging the life of the buildings and precincts…. For this purpose, essential and minimal changes would be allowed.”
The BMC chief can overturn its decision, but he must explain why. Earlier this week, Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak said he would abide by the panel’s decision. “If they say that FSI of 4 is not permissible in the precinct, I will refer the issue back to the corporation and ask for a new plan.” On Thursday, Phatak said, “I can’t comment until I see the decision.”