Bandra residents are peeved that some of the ancient crosses erected on public spaces are on municipal corporation’s list of unauthorised religious structures.
When one of the residents, John Miranda, filed an RTI application asking how the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) got information about the shrines, he was shocked by the reply. “The BMC replied that they had asked the residents of nearby buildings about the structures and when they were erected. If at all they wanted to know about them, they could have asked the nearby church,” said Miranda.
The BMC’s cut-off date for all religious structures is 1964, he added.
According to Bandra (W) residents, the BMC’s list of structures to be razed includes nine crosses in Bandra, Khar and Santa Cruz.
“The crosses were erected before 1948 and this has been mentioned in the Tikka sheet plan, which is the City Survey plan prepared by the then government authorities. Some of the crosses have a specific city survey number,” said Gordon D’Silva, a Bandra resident who has been following up on the issue for the last 10 years.
He added that it was surprising to see the crosses on the demolition list even though the citizens have been submitting documents to the BMC since 2003. “Many crosses have the date of construction carved on them, clearly showing that they had been built before 1948,” added D’Silva.
Miranda said that some of the shrines are on roads after road-widening.
The civic officials admitted that the survey, carried out by the ward offices, was only based on the information by locals, without checking any record. “But, the citizens can still submit the relevant documents which will be considered before we take a final decision,” said a senior civic official.