The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has proposed to include certain natural sites and formations such as mangroves and saltpan land in the ambit of heritage sites. If approved, the proposal will make it difficult for developers to build on such land.
This proposal is a part of the revised norms for heritage structures that the MHCC has prepared after taking extracts from regulations of cities such as Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
The revised regulations have been sent to the state’s Urban Development Department for approval.
“Once the proposal is approved, we will mark the natural heritage sites. Any development activity in that area will have to get a clearance from the MHCC,” said Dinesh Afzulpurkar, chairman, MHCC.
MHCC said that the move was aimed at stopping the rampant destruction of mangroves, natural water bodies, and also the much sought-after saltpan land for development.
Development in these areas will become more difficult as along with the coastal regulations zone, environmental and other clearances, builders will now have to get a nod from the heritage committee.
“This will help tighten scrutiny for projects within the regulated area and will stop the process of giving random permissions,” added Afzulpurkar.
A few structures such as the Gilbert Hill, Gorai creek precinct, the old Malad precinct, Powai lake precinct have already been included in the proposed extended heritage list. Both saltpans and mangroves are found in the city's western and eastern coasts in suburbs such as Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Gorai, Borivli, Dahisar and Bandra-Andheri belt.
MHCC also said that such provisions existed in other states’ regulations and it was very important to preserve such sites against indiscriminate development.
“The MHCC’s idea to include natural sites and ecologically important sites in as heritage is a timely move because as we are going around developing these areas none of them will remain,” said Ravindra Dafftary, a green activist.
Developers have not welcomed the move saying that this would only add to their woes. Subodh Runwal, director; Runwal Group, told HT: “The heritage committee is basically formed to look after issues of heritage buildings and they should not concentrate on environmental issues.”