Residents of heritage structures to have no say in repairs, revamp

  • Chetna Yerunkar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2016 22:53 IST
The civic chief may not hear the grievances of the residents while allowing repair or revamp of heritage precincts like Khotachi Wadi. (Hindustan Times)

Preserving the city’s heritage structures could prove to be a tough task.

A provision in the Development Control Regulations (DCR) 1991, which mandated the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) chief to conduct a hearing for citizens who are likely to be affected by any undue loss caused to heritage structures, has gone missing from the revised draft DCR 2034.

This means the civic chief may not hear the grievances of the residents while allowing repair or redevelopment of heritage structures.

Another crucial provision of the DCR 1991 — it authorises the commissioner to relax any other DCR provisions to preserve the heritage structure — is also missing from the revised draft.

Earlier this week, the civic body published two chapters of the DCR that will be open to public suggestions and objections until April 20.

While the civic body has already received flak for not including various recommendations of the previous civic heritage committees, removing the provisions has not gone down too well with conservationists.

Heritage conservationist David Cardoz said, “The civic body is eroding away the fundamental principles of heritage. Everybody should be given a fair chance to speak for their loss of rights. By removing this clause from the DCR, we are taking away residents’ right to speak up. It is more on the lines of dictatorship to remove such a clause. If a person has loss of development rights, he can’t even appeal as

no hearing provisions are in place.”

Pankaj Joshi, executive director of Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), said, “The civic chief should have retained the powers to alter DCR changes for preservation or retention of heritage properties. If tomorrow a heritage temple has to be retained or protected, this missing provision will be a problem.”

Civic sources, however, said both provisions are interlinked — as one provision was removed, the other one also had to go.

A civic official, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “We are open to making changes to the DCR on suggestions of the citizens.”

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