01-01In September last year, buildings around Shivaji Park were dropped from heritage list.

In the battle between heritage conservation and development, heritage has lost yet another round. 

Just months after Mumbai Mumbai reported how the Heritage Review Committee had recommended deletion of all buildings around Shivaji Park from the protected structures list, retaining the tag only for the maidan, the committee has now proposed removal of Dadar’s historic Hindu Colony precinct, several Raj-period chawls, and some parts of Dadar Parsi Colony from the list. 

The committee’s recommendations have, however, been welcomed by residents of these areas who view the heritage tag as a stumbling block not only in realising the true market value of their properties, but also in carrying out repairs. 

If the recommendations of the Heritage Review Committee led by former chief secretary Dinesh Afzulpurkar are accepted by the state government, dozens of buildings in the proposed heritage precincts of Dadar and central Mumbai will be up for redevelopment. 

In its report submitted to Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte last week, the committee has made a distinction between institutions and private residential buildings. So while it has recommended that almost all residential buildings in Hindu Colony be removed from the heritage list, Ruia and Poddar College remain on it. Raj Gruha, the Mumbai home of Dr B R Ambedkar, also continues to be on the list of protected structures. 

Hindu Colony was built in the early 1900 and the buildings there are known for their distinct architectural features. According to conservation architects, the buildings in Hindu and Parsi Colony were the first planned precincts in the city. Hindu Colony was taken up for development by the then Bombay Improvement Trust (BIT). The buildings here have a mix of Indian and Islamic features and are known to be part of the Indo-Deco architectural style. They also feature localized vernacular style of construction. 

The committee has recommended that large chawls like Madhavwadi and Dasturwadi in Dadar, Worli’s BDD chawl, Tejookiya Mansion in Lalbaug and Chinchpokli’s Batatawala Chawl be deleted from the heritage list to allow their repairs or redevelopment. 

The review committee has also suggested that the boundaries of the Dadar Parsi Colony be revised. “The original precinct has been shrunk by around 30 per cent. Many buildings touching the Dadar and Wadala end have been recommended for deletion. However, those buildings near the Five Gardens and all Parsi buildings have been retained. Most of the listed religious structures too have been retained,” an official said. 

When contacted, Afzulpurkar said his job was to make recommendations based on the suggestions and objections received. “I have submitted the report to the municipal commissioner. It is for him to take a call now,” he said. 

Just before the state elections, the committee had recommended the deletion of the Chembur heritage precinct. 

The review committee report has made some new suggestions too, the most important among them being the suggestion that all maidans of historical significance be included in the new Heritage Open Space category. The committee had last year recommended that Dadar’s Shivaji Park be re-categorized as Heritage Open Space so that it could be protected without hampering the redevelopment of surrounding buildings. Maidans like Jamboree (Worli), Kamgar and Nare Park (Parel) and Matunga’s Dadkar maidan have been proposed to be included in the Heritage Open Space category. 

Similarly, smaller heritage structures like water fountains are proposed to be included in a new Heritage Artefact category. 

While the Hindu Colony heritage precinct is proposed to be deleted in toto, Wadala’s Walchand Colony heritage precinct, a small Parsi enclave, has been retained. 

The report also recommends that forts at Worli, Sion, Sewree and Mahim be retained under a new category of National Monuments. 

Several BMC and government owned buildings like KEM Hospital, Haffkine Institute and The BSCPA’s animal hospital at Parel will also continue to be protected heritage structures. 

Kunte will now send the review committee’s recommendation to the state government’s Urban Development Department for a final notification. 

Apart from Afzulpurkar, Uday Varti of the Practicing Engineers, Architects, and Town Planner Association; Jayant Vaidya of the MCHI; and architect Harshad Bhatia were part of the review committee. 

“We have taken a comprehensive view of the suggestions and objections. Even in the Parsi Colony, those residential buildings that are dilapidated have been removed and so the boundary of the precinct is proposed to be revised. It will reduce only marginally. In Hindu Colony, several buildings are already being redeveloped and many are dilapidated. Those that are important from a heritage point of view have been retained,” Jayant Vaidya said. 


» Most residential buildings in Dadar’s Hindu Colony 

» Some residential buildings in Parsi Colony 

» Madhavwadi and Dasturwadi in Dadar 

» Tejookiya Mansion in Lalbaug 

» Chinchpokli’s Batatawala Chawl 

» Worli’s BDD Chawl 


» Ruia and Podar Colleges 

» Raj Gruha, BR Ambedkar’s Dadar home 

» KEM Hospital 

» Hafkine Institute 

» BSCPA Animal Hospital 

» Fire temples in Parsi Colony 

» Five Gardens 

» Several maidans like Jamboree (Worli), Kamgar and Nare Park (Parel) and Dadkar (Matunga) (Buildings around them can be redeveloped.) 

» Forts at Sion, Mahim, Sewri and Worli

Source: Mumbai Mirror