Many of Mumbai’s majestic buildings and bungalows appear on the list of 900-plus structures that could be added to the existing 588 heritage structures. These structures were identified during a survey by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. For the first time since the committee was set up in 1995, the list includes many water bodies that sustain the city of 18 million. The entries are far too many to list, but here’s a sample of the places that may get heritage status after approvals.
When Mumbai was just an island city surrounded by saline waters, fresh water tanks and wells were revered in every locality. As the pressure for land and greed for real estate grew, most of the water bodies were filled up to make place for buildings. This put pressure on the six lakes — Tansa, Upper Vaitarna, Bhatsa, Vihar, Modak Sagar and Tulsi — that supply water to the city. Of these, Tulsi and Vihar as also Powai are likely to get a Grade II A heritage tag if the recommendations of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee are accepted by the state government. As a member of the committee said on condition of anonymity, “It took the Mithi river’s wrath to wake the authorities from their slumber. Getting heritage status for these water bodies could help save Mumbai from environmental disaster.”
The Bandra talao that survives despite being located in the high-priced queen of suburbs also figures in the proposed heritage list.
Sydenham College in downtown Mumbai and Khalsa College in Matunga, the JB Petit School for girls on Marzaban Road, the Vanita Vishram and Sardar high schools in Khetwadi, Bandra’s Mount Mary Convent High School and St Andrew’s high school figure in the list of schools awaiting heritage status.
And if the list is finally approved, the Astoria and Ritz hotels will also make it to the list. So too, Mantralaya, Police Headquarters at Colaba and Lamington Road police station.
This time, the focus of the heritage committee has also included the preservation of the unique character of some precincts in Mumbai.
The Chimbai road precinct, Chembur village precinct, Old Khar village, Pali Mala Road precinct and the Pali Hill precinct are some of those that qualify for heritage status, the committee has argued.
“These places retain the character of village life in the heart of a huge city like Mumbai and hence qualify,” said Nagarkar. Shivaji Park, which is well known for its huge public gatherings and is frequented every day by young and old alike is also mentioned in the list. So are the Hindu and Parsi colonies in Dadar.
The Marine Drive, Girgaum and Gorai waterfronts are some other places that have been proposed for heritage status.