MUMBAI: Residents of the rows of art deco buildings in Churchgate and Marine Drive have decided to put up a fight after learning of the omission of heritage structures in the draft Development Plan 2014-2034.
Many wondered whether the omission of heritage structures from the draft DP was a conscious move on the part of the BMC.
Last week, during the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee meeting (MHCC), it was realized that around 1,000 heritage structures and precincts were missing from the draft DP.
A member of the MHCC found after a preliminary look that even Grade 1 heritage structures such as the Asiatic Society of Bombay dating from 1804, the Central Library or old town hall on Bhagat Singh Marg, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya on MG Road and St Thomas Cathedral on Veer Nariman Road were not marked at all in the draft DP.
Residents said they would take up the matter and fight for the acknowledgement of heritage structures in the DP.
"We plan to protest strongly, in our individual capacity as well as an association, so that the authorities wake up to the widespread concern over the heritage issue," Ashad Mehta, who lives opposite the Oval Maidan and is president of the Oval-Cooperage Residents Association, said.
The Oval Maidan, a Grade 1 heritage structure notified in the 1995 heritage list, is marked as a heritage precinct in the draft DP.
Other residents said that their concern was that the entire draft DP was focused on rampant development.
"Rare open heritage entries like the Oval Maidan being marked as a heritage precinct is not acceptable," Nayana Kathpalia, a trustee of the NGO NAGAR, said. "The fear is that taking off the designation will attract encroachments."
Another activist, Gerson Da Cunha, a resident of Maharshi Karve Road, said the draft DP doing away with the aspect of heritage conservation was a matter of great concern. "It is the very least that the authorities could have done by giving these heritage structures their appropriate designation," he said.