The state government has named Batata Mansion in Ganesh Gully a heritage structure in honour of Subhash Chandra Bose, who visited Congress leader Ganpat Kandalkar at his residence while active in the freedom struggle. However, residents are protesting against this decision, taken a few months before redevelopment work was to start.
"There is no meaning in calling it a heritage structure. We respect the leader but it cannot be called historical because he once visited the place," said Baba Jadhav, a former corporator and one of the residents.
Residents of Batata Mansion, which has 60 rooms and 13 shops, claim the declaration has stalled redevelopment and has shattered their dreams of a better home. "Recently, we spent around Rs7,000 on renovations. We can't afford to live here any more," said Poonam Chauhan, resident of Batata Mansion, who lives with seven more family members in a 100 sq ft room.
For several residents in Batata Mansion, the rainy season means arranging buckets to collect water from leaking roofs. "Now, the situation is the same even if it is not raining. The roofs leak and plaster is falling on our head," says resident Subhash Labde.
Residents of the Tejukaya Mansion in Lalbaug are also opposed to heritage status. The 550 families in the 11 buildings of the complex find them ill-ventilated, and in dire need of repair. Sandip Chavan, a society committee member said, "We don't even know why the building has been given heritage status. It was last repaired in 1970s."