Mumbai: Expedite Esplanade Mansion restoration, HC directs MHADA, BMC
The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to complete all formalities related to the restoration and conservation of the Esplanade Mansion, a heritage building in south Mumbai after the landlord and tenants informed the HC that they had arranged for ₹20 crore to restore the structure. The court also directed the MHADA to permit the architect of the landlord and tenants to access the building to draw up the plans for restoration and extend all help required by them to commence work. The heritage committee is expected to consider the proposal too.
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni while hearing the petition by Sadiqali Noorani, the landlord of Esplanade Mansion which was earlier known as Watson Hotel and tenants seeking directions to MHADA to hand over possession of the building for commencing restoration work at their own cost was informed by advocate Chirag Balsara that an amount of ₹20 crore had been arranged for the restoration and conservation work in the building.
Balsara submitted that as the amount was arranged they required access to the building which is in possession of the MHADA so that their architect was able to draw up plans and also undertake protective work during the monsoon. He added that the proposal for restoration would thereafter be given to the heritage committee and after receiving a go-ahead from them, further approvals for commencement of work would be sought from MHADA and BMC.
Last year in February, the landlord and 140 tenants had undertaken to provide the estimated cost of ₹50 crore for restoration and conservation as the MHADA had declined to foot the bill.
After MHADA’s counsel, Prakash Lad informed the court that the housing authority had no objection for the same, senior counsel Anil Sakhare representing BMC on instructions said that its heritage committee would consider the proposal of the owner in its next meeting.
After hearing the submissions, the bench directed the owners to give the proposal for restoration at the earliest and also asked MHADA and BMC to expedite all formalities related to the restoration of the structure.