Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray lambasted the recent heritage notification by the government in an interview published in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna on Sunday. “First restore historical forts built by Shivaji around Maharashtra and only then talk of conserving heritage in the city,” Thackeray said.
Under the notification 868 buildings and precincts in Mumbai, including the iconic Shivaji Park in Dadar, have been proposed for the heritage tag. This would mean that all buildings that get the heritage tag cannot be redeveloped. Only superficial repairs will be allowed.
The Sena has been opposing the move saying it would halt development activities and cause inconvenience to residents living in old, dilapidated buildings.
Thackeray also spoke about the numerous forts around the state lying in ruins. “All forts that Shivaji built are now in sorry state. Aren’t they part of our heritage? Those in Sindhudurg and Raigad are in particularly bad shape. The umbrella over Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in Raigad has courted controversy. The government does not do anything itself and neither does it allow us to replace it. These forts, that are with the Delhi government’s archaeological department, are not managed well and now they want to turn structures at Shivaji Park and Lalbaug into heritage ones?” he said.
“I can understand the Mayor’s bungalow being classified as a heritage structure. But, what about the Savarkar Smarak? I sanctioned the land for this when Sudhir Joshi was the mayor (1973-74). How is that a heritage structure? If this is the criteria then all of Mumbai should be declared heritage,” he said.
On Thursday, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray had announced that his party would not allow the new heritage proposal to move ahead, by passing a special resolution in the Mumbai civic body.