Mumbai masterplan omits 1,000 buildings from heritage list

by Tom Anstey | 10 Apr 2015

A 2034 development masterplan for Mumbai, India, has come under fire after proposing to remove 70 per cent of the currently heritage-listed sites in the city, while incorrectly labelling others.

Of the 1,488 listed heritage buildings, sites and precincts in the city, 1,000 will be removed under the new guidelines unveiled by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. According to the contentious Mumbai Development Plan - 2034, the listed Jehangir Art Gallery is a veterinary practice, while the historical St Thomas Church is named as an orphanage.

The city introduced first-of-its-kind regulations for Indian heritage in 1995. The new blueprint would mean that the no-longer-listed sites would be unprotected and open for redevelopment.

“Vested interests have, time and time again, attempted to tamper with the culturally significant heritage fabric of Mumbai and nullify its advantageous position,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director of the Mumbai-based Urban Design Research Institute. “The revised development plan is a major attempt to lift the protection offered to more than 1,400 buildings, sites and precincts through an act of omission."

Among those failing to make the new heritage list are the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, one of the country’s oldest buildings, and the famous Watson’s Hotel, which once hosted author Mark Twain. Seven historic precincts in Mumbai are also potentially in line for the chop under the plans.

Chief minister for Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, has responded to criticism of the plan by forming a three-person committee to examine the draft.

"Whatever be the report, the implementation of the development plan is the prerogative of the municipal corporation," said Fadnavis speaking at a state assembly, adding that there was a need for “limited intervention”.

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A 2034 development masterplan for Mumbai, India, has come under fire after proposing to remove 70 per cent of the currently heritage-listed sites in the city, while incorrectly labelling others. Of the 1,488 listed heritage buildings, sites and precincts in the city, 1,000 will be removed under the new guidelines unveiled by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. According to the contentious Mumbai Development Plan - 2034, the listed Jehangir Art Gallery
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The historic Asiatic Society of Mumbai would be one of the 1,000 sites no longer considered a heritage site in Mumbai
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