The demand for Bal Thackeray’s memorial at Shivaji Park may hit a heritage hurdle as it has been proposed as Grade I heritage site in the proposed draft heritage list.
As per the norms, no construction is allowed in the Grade I heritage structures or sites. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will take a year to go through the list and approve it.
After Thackeray’s death on Saturday, the Shiv Sena has been demanding a memorial at the site where he was cremated. “Only restoration or preservation work can be carried out after getting permission from Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC),” said an MHCC member. “But, the state government can allow construction at the site by issuing a resolution in exceptional cases anytime.”
The Shiv Sena has opposed the proposed Grade I category to Shivaji Park and its precincts, stating that the move would not allow redevelopment of dilapidated buildings in the vicinity.
“We are hoping that either the BMC or the state will not allow any construction on the city’s open public spaces,” said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convener of Citispace.
Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte said the decision for a memorial would be taken after the BMC receives the proposal.
“Let the proposal come, then we will decide,” he said.
On July 31, the BMC published the proposed draft heritage list which includes 948 structures and 47 precincts.
“The feedbacks from residents say that construction should not be allowed at the park. Though we agree that a memorial should be built in Balasaheb’s memory but not on the ground. Shivaji’s statue is on the ground and it would not be fair to allow more,” said Ashok Rawat, a resident of Shivaji Park.
He added that if the decision of allowing the memorial is not in accordance with the law, then they would move court. The Wecom trust has called a meeting on Tuesday to discuss whether a memorial can be built on Shivaji Park.