Bearing in mind the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to allow Grade III listed heritage structures and districts to be redeveloped without their permission, the Mumbai Heritage Preservation Commission (MHCC) has called for comprehensive guidelines for development work in these areas.
The committee also recommended that redevelopment proposals be sent in third grade and counties before it so that the guidelines can be formed. The issue was also raised with Municipal Commissioner and Director Iqbal Singh Chahal.
According to the BMC Development Plan (DP), the Heritage District is an area of heritage value and cultural significance. MHCC is a body concerned with the protection, preservation and preservation of heritage in the city. It is chaired by a retired IAS officer, and has historians, architects, urban planners, and heritage activists as its members. He decides to preserve or redevelop structures of cultural, aesthetic, historical and architectural interest and sends the proposal to the BMC.
The matter was revealed five months ago after the municipal commissioner approved some proposals to redevelop buildings in the precinct area and one of the developers willingly reached out to MHCC for feedback. According to officials from BMC’s DP division, approval was granted in accordance with Section 52(9) of the Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR)-2034 which gives the authority to the municipal commissioner to allow redevelopment.
The DP division also informed the commission that DCPR does not clearly state approval requirements from the MHCC for redevelopment in electoral districts and third-tier structures. However, one member said that development work in heritage areas or structures should be done in line with the city’s aesthetics and character.
A source said nearly three to four proposals for redevelopment of buildings from the south Mumbai fort area have reached the Dubai Ports division.
During one MHCC meeting, several members said that the districts and Grade 3 buildings should be preserved as they make up the city’s heritage and cultural landscape.
“Because the buildings were not Grade I and II and were part of the precinct, the Municipal Commissioner’s No Objection Certificate (NOC) approval was obtained from the MHCC. However, members of the committee were of the opinion that there should be a policy to preserve the city’s heritage significance. As well as allowing reasonable development,” the source told the Indian Express. MHCC permission is mandatory for any changes or even repair work to heritage structures that fall into categories I and II.
Subsequently, the committee suggested that detailed guidelines on development work in the district be prepared in accordance with Clause 52(6) of DCPR-2034 which states that “Development within the districts shall be in accordance with the relevant department guidelines as formulated by the Municipal Commissioner in consultation with the MHCC or in accordance with For whatever the municipal commissioner decides, it requires government approval.” According to BMC officials, there are around 250 Grade 3 buildings and 13 districts in Mumbai.
“There is a gray area in DCPR related to constituency development. Policy will focus on clarifying those gray areas. We need to ensure that reasonable development occurs in heritage areas,” said one of the committee members.
While MHCC President Ramanath Jha declined to comment, Rajiv Mishra, Principal of the Sir JJ School of Art and committee member, said the issue would be discussed again at a meeting.
BMC Commissioner and Director Chahal was not available for comment.
Pankaj Joshi, principal director of architecture firm Urban Center Mumbai, said such guidelines are needed so as not to lose Mumbai’s edge in heritage preservation.
Historically, Mumbai was the first city in India to institute a heritage preservation policy. Class I, II and III structures and regions are reported. At this critical juncture, it will be important not to fall back on legal responsibility. “Such a policy is needed to protect the last 25 years of hard work (for heritage preservation),” Joshi said.