City lost heritage due to delay in publishing new list, say activists | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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City lost heritage due to delay in publishing new list, say activists

mumbai Updated: Sep 14, 2012 01:02 IST

The six-year gap between inspecting areas and announcing the heritage list has allowed time for several of these structures to be redeveloped.

As a result, owners and occupants of these structures, which were previously old buildings or historically and culturally important, find themselves on the proposed heritage list of 868 new sites. The only way out for them now is to file objections to the heritage committee to get their structures struck off from the list.

A classic case is that of the 16 buildings out of the 195 in the Shivaji Park precinct, which the proposed list has given a grade I status that bars any construction activity except minor repairs. Among them is two-storey Parijat building on MB Raut Road that was demolished and a 10-storey structure now stands in its place.

"We began work almost three years before the draft list was published," said an official from a firm redeveloping the area.

Similarly, Cornelia residency, a seven-storey building on St Leo's Road in Bandra, was a quaint bungalow that was redeveloped four years ago. The residents occupying the 14 flats in the new building now want its inclusion in the heritage list revoked.

"The building was built with proper permissions. Why we should suffer for their fault?" asked Denzil Mendonca, manager of the society.

Activists say the delay has cost the city its heritage. "We have lost beautiful villas because the list lied dormant for all these years. The government should look into providing financial incentives to the owners of these structures. Otherwise, we will lose them to land sharks," said Shyama Kulkarni, trustee of AGNI.

Civic corporators like BJP's Alka Kerkar from Khar, which has many buildings on the list, say that a resurvey is the only way ahead.

"The redeveloped buildings show the survey was done in an unplanned manner. Although residents can file objections, the authorities should consider the option of a resurvey so that such anomalies can be done away with," said Kerkar.