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Panel fighting to put Dr Homi Bhabha's bungalow on heritage list

Sunday, 17 August 2014 - 6:35am IST | Agency: dna

The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has decided to include Dr Homi Bhabha’s bungalow ‘Meherangir’ at Malabar Hill on the heritage list so as to preserve it in its present condition. V Ranganathan, chairman of the heritage committee told dna that the Maharashtra government has asked them to study the heritage and historical importance of Meherangir and submit a report before a final call is taken. 

What needs to be done
“We will study all aspects of Dr Homi Bhabha’s bungalow. Then, a recommendation report will be submitted to the state government. However, the state has to take the final call to decide whether this bungalow needs to be declared as a state protected monument,” said Ranganathan. The heritage committee has appointed heritage experts and MHCC member Cyrus Guzder to prepare the preliminary draft of recommendations.

Recommendations will hold water
Ranganathan said that even though this said bungalow was sold, they can still provide the state government with recommendations. Meherangir bungalow was sold by its owner National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) for Rs 372 crore to undisclosed bid winner in the auction.

CM asks cultural dept to look into it
Prashant Worlikar, an employee of the Atomic Energy department, filed a PIL and has also written to the state to declare this bungalow as a national heritage property. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had asked the state’s department of cultural affairs to study this demand. Interestingly, the heritage committee did not include Meherangir in its 2012 list. The list was prepared by the task force appointed by the state agency – MMRDA. 

Can it be done?
However, as per the development control rules (DCR) – 67 (3), the heritage list can be modified by the state government on the recommendation of the heritage committee by following prescribed procedure.“It is not an easy process to enlist Meherangir into the heritage list. We need substantial supporting documents and evidence. The recommendations should be based on the facts and figure so if anyone raises questions, as heritage experts, we should be able to prove our claim,” said a heritage committee member on the condition of anonymity.

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