Following the furore over the BMC's heritage proposal, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday sought to assign responsibility in the matter to the city's civic body.
Chavan said the government would decide its stand on the heritage structures proposal after getting written opinions from the Mumbai municipal commissioner and the BMC heritage committee. He, however, insisted that city's heritage should be preserved.
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party heads the BMC, visited Chavan on Friday morning with a delegation to discuss their problems with the list, proposed by the civic body's heritage committee. The list proposes that 868 structures and precincts in the city be included in the heritage list.
While speaking to the Sena delegation, Chavan said, "I will ask both the committee and municipal commissioner to give me written opinions on this."
Residents have raised concerns over restrictions that will be placed on repairs and redevelopment once their buildings are in the approved heritage list.
The list will be finalised after considering the public's objects and suggestions, to be submitted latest by September 30.
The Sena had on August 28 raised objections over declaring the area surrounding Shivaji Park as a grade 1 heritage structure, and including buildings from Prabhadevi, Dadar and Mahim in the heritage list.
Referring to people's sentiments, Chavan said, "I can understand the feelings of the people. Several buildings and precincts in Mumbai are of historical importance. The thought behind this move is that the nature and heritage value of these structures are preserved."
Thackeray, however, insisted that it would be Marathi middle-class families that would be affected by the heritage proposal. "We also love history and heritage. But many buildings in Shivaji Park are over 50-75 years old and need to be redeveloped. Many families are dreaming of better homes. But the heritage norms will affect all these plans," Thackeray said.
He also questioned the government's decision to allow cluster redevelopment in areas like Bhendi Bazaar under the Mumbai Makeover plan, even though they also have old and historically-significant buildings but bring areas like Shivaji Park under heritage norms.