Heritage value affected by work to spruce up Marine Drive: Residents

  • Vaishnavi Vasudevan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 02, 2014 17:45 IST

After a recent controversy over claims that the reconstruction of a building in Marine Drive was affecting the heritage value of the area, Nariman Point residents have now objected to the civic body’s beautification work on similar grounds.

The iconic Marine Drive stretch has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its art deco design. However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in its ongoing road repair work, has removed dividers designed in accordance with the architectural style.

Moreover, its undertaking BEST has built bus stops with neon-lit advertisements boards that disturb the area’s architectural identity, claim residents.

And these developments have taken place without approval from Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC).

Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens’ Association made its objections known in a letter sent last week to the MHCC, municipal commissioner and other senior officials.

“The promenade has bus stops designed by architect Ratan Batliboi that have plants, seating arrangements and thin pillars to complement the art deco style and does not restrict the view of the sea or promenade. But now we see structures spoiling the art deco nature,” said Atul Kumar, vice-president of the association. There are three new bus stops erected on the promenade opposite Bal Bhavan, Islam Gymkhana and Cricket Club of India.

Dividers with bollards on it set in a specific pattern and size, are now being replaced by a concrete divider with grass.

MHCC denied receiving any letter from the residents so far. “The BMC did not take our approval. Our committee will approach the roads departments and municipal commissioner asking them to remove the structures that violate the heritage guidelines,” said V Ranganathan, chairperson, MHCC. BEST general manager OP Gupta could not be reached.

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