Activists from various community groups, who were shocked on learning about the errors with regard to heritage and religious structures, heaved a sigh of relief on Monday, as the state announced the decision to scrap the development plan (DP).
Several mosques such as Jama Masjid near Crawford Market, Hindustani Masjid in Byculla, Hamidiya Masjid in Pydhonie, Nawab Masjid in Bhendi Bazaar and Markaz Masjid on Mohammed Ali Road were marked under the commercial residential category. “It’s heartening to know that the government has bowed down to public pressure. We hope the errors will be rectified in the revised DP,” Sayeed Khan, trustee of group Right Way, who was one of the activists who raised the issue.
Activists said the government must involve local experts, heritage committee representatives and retired senior civic officials in the process of framing the new DP. Godfrey Pimenta, trustee and founder of NGO Watchdog Foundation, said, “Clearly, the ground work wasn’t done properly. The plans to attract tourists at scenic villages around Mumbai, including Gorai and Manori, that were suggested by the government earlier did not find a mention in the DP. The existing heritage structures too were dropped.”
Vile Parle resident Darryl D’souza, who helped the parishioners of St Xavier’s Church, Vile Parle (West), hold a signature campaign against the listing of the religious structure as an orphanage, said, “All those who worked to expose the flaws need to be appreciated.” Gordon D’souza, president, Bombay Catholic Sabha, which protested against dropping of several churches from the DP, said the move has saved the city from chaos.