Oval Maidan precinct could get a world heritage tag by mid-2018,as the centre has selected the site as its nomination for a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accreditation. The centre has communicated its nomination to the Paris-based UNESCO, setting the ball in motion.
Abha Narain Lambah, a heritage conservationist, said that with centre informing UNESCO about its nomination, a mission from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will visit Mumbai to review the site.
“They will interact with the state government, visit the site, its surroundings, cultural significance, etc, and compile a report that will be discussed at the next session of the world heritage committee, which might be in June 2018,” she said. Lambah prepared the Oval Maidan dossier for submission with the help of several citizens’ groups.
The precinct comprises buildings of the Victorian neo-gothic architecture of the 19th century and art deco structures from the 20th century. As per the dossier, the precinct extends from the Bombay gothic buildings on one side of the Maidan to the other side, stretching all the way till Marine Drive. These boundaries hold the largest cluster of art deco buildings after Miami.
A world heritage site tag will catapult the precinct to international fame, attracting more tourists. The site will also receive more funding from global bodies for conservation and upkeep. Residents’ groups and heritage activists have been pursuing for the Oval Maidan to be nominated since 2013. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis even wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pushing for the site to be picked as India’s nomination for a world heritage tag.