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Mumbai civic officials to visit six illegal shrines with residents before taking action

Mumbai city news: Following a Bombay high court order to demolish illegal shrines in public places, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation listed 482 shrines that obstruct traffic

mumbai Updated: Jul 19, 2017 10:31 IST
Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Illegal shrines,Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation
A cross at Andheri-Kurla Road in Gundavali area in Andheri.(HT FILE)

After the Andheri (East) ward office sent notices to demolish five crosses and a grotto of Mother Mary, civic officials have decided to visit the shrines with resident associations on Wednesday before taking action.

Following a Bombay high court order to demolish illegal shrines in public places, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) listed 482 shrines that obstruct traffic. K/East ward office identified five crosses and a grotto of Mother Mary as illegal and sent out notices.

D K Jain, K/East ward officer, agreed to visit the shrines on July 19 on the request of residents and Catholic groups like Watchdog Foundation, Bombay Catholic Sabha and East Indian Association.

Residents and owners of shrines met with ward officials on Monday. They opposed the decision to demolish the shrines saying that they were centuries old and must not be touched.

Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of Watchdog Foundation, said, “There is no way BMC can relocate the cross at Andheri-Kurla Road in Gundavali (one of the five the BMC wants to demolish) as it is a protected (category A) structure.”

Pimenta said around 50 people, including residents, will accompany the officials.

He added that there were 221 such category A shrines that could be regularised but not relocated or demolished.

After getting a notice for a one of these crosses in Gundavali, Catholics had demanded that Jain be removed from office for harassing them. Jain told HT, “We will see if the crosses can be shifted amicably. If a category A cross is in the way, it will be shifted as development of the area is also important. More meetings will be held to decide what should be done.”

Most of the illegal crosses were in G/North (Dadar, Mahim) ward. The G/North ward office also held a meeting with owners of three Dadar crosses that were to be demolished.

Chairman of Bombay Catholic Sabha Rita D’sa said, “All crosses obstructing movement on roads are to be relocated as BMC does not want to demolish any. The three crosses in Dadar will be relocated soon.”

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 10:31 IST