Mumbai's heritage structures will soon be left without a body to make decisions about their conservation, revamp and development.
The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) will complete its three-year term on July 19 and the state urban development department yet to form a new panel. Ideally, a new panel should be appointed and come into effect immediately after the term of existing committee ends.
The MHCC, comprising architects, historians, environmentalists and heritage activists, recommends proposals to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief for conservation or redevelopment of structures or precincts that are of historical, aesthetic, architectural and cultural significance.
Last time, when the term of the committee ended in July 2011, the city was without a heritage committee for a year.
“We lost many heritage structures during the period as there was no committee to overlook redevelopment and other proposals of such structures. This time, we have requested for immediate appointment of a panel,” said V Ranganathan, chairman, MHCC.
Heritage conservationists are, however, worried about the government forming the committee immediately. Principal secretary, state urban development department, said, “We are in the process of forming a new committee but say when it will come to effect.”
Officials also hinted the tenure of the existing committee may not be extended.
The MHCC has taken decisions on structural changes or redevelopment of heritage buildings and precincts. The last meeting of the existing committee is scheduled on July 19.
Ranganathan has written letter to the urban development department about forming the new committee immediately. “If the committee is not formed immediately, the proposals for revamp or changes to be made to important heritage structures will be pending as it was the case last time,” he said.
In the past few years, political parties have been demanding that the committee be dissolved as it restricts development of the city at certain locations.
# Why we need heritage conservation body
* With its unique blend of Victorian, Indo-Saracenic and Art Deco architecture, Mumbai was the first city in the country to put in place the shield of heritage legislation 20 years ago
* In 2011-12, the city was without a heritage committee for the first time since it was formed in 1995, when the last panel’s term expired
* The then chief minister had not taken a decision on the new panel. Over 40 proposals were stuck owing to this
* The MHCC comprising architects, historians, environmentalists and heritage activists, educationalists among others take decisions on changes to be made on heritage structures
* It recommends proposals to the BMC chief for conservation or redevelopment of structures or precincts that are of historical, aesthetic, architectural and cultural significance.