The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has threatened to raze two structures adjoining a church in Santa Cruz (W) — which is a heritage building — for road widening, which has angered the church and residents of the area.
On February 25, the BMC had issued a notice under section 299 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act to take possession of the land and to demolish parts of two structures which share a common boundary with the Sacred Heart Church. The civic body intends to acquire the land to widen the church avenue road from 60 ft to 90 ft.
The 77-year-old church is listed as a Grade III heritage structure in the existing heritage list and has been proposed as a Grade II-B heritage structure in the proposed list.
“Acquisition of the land would result in the demolition of two adjoining structures — one being a religious structure, the grotto, and the other a building, Sanjivani, which is being used as a social service centre. Both have been there for the past 75 years,” said Father Vernon Aguiar of the church.
Demanding that the BMC withdraw the notice immediately, he said, “They should not demolish any heritage and religious structures abutting on the church avenue.”
The Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) has termed the notice ‘unnecessary’. “If the BMC does not withdraw the notice, we will have no option but take to the streets to protest against its decision,” said Gordon D’Souza, BCS president.
The officials from the H (West) Ward office remained unavailable for their comment.