BMC to High Court: ‘Proposed Thackeray memorial not in green zone, heritage clearances availed’

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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in its reply to a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging permission by state government to convert the mayor’s bungalow in Shivaji Park area into a memorial for late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, has said that the plot on which the structure is proposed to be constructed does not fall within green zone anymore since it was earmarked for residential zone through a government notification.
The civic body further submitted in an affidavit on Thursday that the objection by the petitioner that the mayor’s bungalow is a heritage structure and therefore, cannot be converted into a memorial is also not valid as the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has given no-objection to proposed change of bungalow to the memorial museum. The BMC and MHCC submitted that all necessary procedures were followed for construction.
The replies were submitted before a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand S Karnik which was hearing PIL by Bhagvanji Rayani challenging Maharashtra government’s 2017 decision to convert the mayor’s bungalow at Shivaji Park in Dadar into a memorial in the name of Thackeray, who died in November, 2012.
The BMC, in its affidavit filed through S U Kamat, Executive Engineer, DP (Development Plan), stated that in May 2018, the state government had sanctioned the change of mayor’s bungalow to “Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak”, and the said land reservation was changed from green zone to residential zone, adding the same was done as per provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act.
The affidavit filed by Heritage Committee through Aparna Bhatte, Deputy Municipal Architect, said that in July, 2020, an architect had submitted an amended proposal to MHCC on account of inclusion of adjacent plot of “Keraliya Samaj” and hence, there would be additions in terms of entrance block/plaza, interpretation centre and museum in old mayor’s building.
The MHCC said the mayor’s bungalow was a grade II-B heritage structure and the panel had given all necessary no-objection certificates (NOCs) for construction of the memorial.
The HC will hear the plea next on August 25.

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