The civic heritage committee’s proposal to add 868 new structures, sites and precincts to the list of heritage properties—which would also put restrictions on rebuilding them—has kicked up a controversy with real estate developers questioning the viability of the proposal, and heritage conservationists justifying the move.
The list, uploaded on the civic body’s website, will be reviewed based on the suggestions of the public. The finalised list will then be sent to the state government for approval.
“A structure should not be given heritage status just because it is old. The structure also has to be of historical importance,” said Lalit Kumar Jain from Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), apex body for private real estate developers.
Both the Shiv Sena and the MNS, which have party headquarters in Dadar, expressed dissatisfaction over the proposal to declare the Shivaji Park area as a grade I heritage structure. This includes structures within 300 m of the park, and may also include MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s residence ‘Krishnakunj’, next to the park.
“Getting a redevelopment proposal cleared for heritage structures is a tedious process and should not be applicable to all buildings in an area,” said Shiv Sena legislator Subhash Desai.
MNS legislator from Dadar, Nitin Sardesai, added: “Heritage status is given to historically and architecturally important buildings. But all buildings around Shivaji Park have been given this status, which is ridiculous.”
Pankaj Joshi, former heritage committee member said: “Shivaji Park has played a significant role in developing the city’s social fabric.”