Giving in to the long-standing demand of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has granted the committee the authority to examine the proposals pertaining to the redevelopment of heritage structures in the city.
BMC commissioner Subodh Kumar said: “The city’s heritage needs to be preserved. We will send the draft proposals pertaining to the redevelopment of heritage buildings to the MHCC for scrutiny.”
According to the members of the MHCC, earlier certain sections of the Development Control Rules (DCR) stated that structures on the heritage list could be redeveloped under the state’s cluster development policy and slum rehabilitation schemes without any clearance from the MHCC. This has resulted in 40% of the 1,100 grade-III buildings in the city being razed to make way for highrises under cluster development or redevelopment rules.
Prominent examples could be the demolition of Taporewala Mansion in Cuffe Parade that is underway, tall towers dwarfing the historical precincts of Khotachiwadi, Carmicheal Road and Marine Drive. Despite possessing several listed gothic structures, the fear of cluster development looms large over areas such as Kalabadevi, Bhuleshwar and Girgaum.
The committee is keen on examining the proposals that could directly or indirectly affect heritage buildings or precincts in the city. Dinesh Afzulpurkar, chairman, MHCC, said: “By including the committee in the process of scrutiny, we could control the possible damage to the listed structures due to the redevelopment policies.”
Officials from the building proposals department said that the heritage committee should be quick in scrutinising the proposals without delaying the process further. “They should only vet the proposal for the listed structures under their jurisdiction,” said an official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Earlier, during the tenure of former municipal commissioner Johnny Joseph, the MHCC was granted the authority to scrutinise the proposals for a year. The practice was later discontinued.