With political parties and builders denouncing the proposed heritage list, the city's conservation architects and civic officials claimed they feared misinformation and political agendas would influence public opinion.
"It is unfortunate there is such opposition, even though the civic body is for the first time considering structures in places other than south Mumbai. People are unaware about the implications of heritage status," said Pankaj Joshi, former heritage committee member.
"In every case, restoration work undertaken in keeping with the interest of the structure is permitted. Only requisite permissions have to be sought, which is also the case with non-heritage structures.
Members of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee also claimed it was misleading to make blanket statements about "not being able to undertake any repair work after being granted heritage status".
"Development and repair work is permitted. It might just take longer as permissions have to be taken," said DM Sukthankar, former chairperson. "The building proposals department even delays permissions for non-heritage structures".
Since this week, Shiv Sena and MNS have been inciting locals to oppose the inclusion of Shivaji Park precinct and other old structures along the Dadar-Parel area. They have also been using the heritage list as an excuse to lash out at each other by displaying posters and hoardings.
The committee members are hoping that creating awareness about the implications of the heritage tag will help overcome misconceptions. "We have prepared a checklist comprising the various parameters for granting permission to heritage buildings considering repairs. Though it might take longer to get redevelopment work done, the public will be able to avail of several incentives," said V Ranganathan, committee chairperson.