Mumbai, Feb 22: The Rs 5-crore Gateway restoration plan ran into another hurdle on Wednesday. The Standing Committee asked the civic administration to present the entire revised plan, prepared by the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (Intach), for the precinct before giving approval for the appointment of contractor to kickstart work.
Ravindra Pawar, NCP leader in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and a Standing Committee member, wanted to know if the authorities had conducted a feasibility study of the area for amenities before passing the plan for the Grade I heritage precinct. “Is there any information about the number of tourists, buses, hotels and schools around the precinct? What about parking?” he asked.
With no firm reply coming from the administration, Pawar branded the plan ‘lopsided’. “It is like developing a new airport by merely purchasing aircrafts, and not planning runway and passenger amenities,” he said.
The NCP councillor also raised the issue of the proposed underground car park at Regal Cinema Circle. “Does it have the required clearance from the Mumbai Urban Heritage Conservation Committee as it faces heritage structures like the Chhatrapathi Shivaji Vastusangrahalaya and the state police head quarters,” he asked civic officials.
Pawar told DNA that he had obtained a copy of the revised Intach plan, but “it has left many questions unanswered”. He also questioned the merit of having a revised plan. “The earlier plan, presented by architect Charles Correa, had complete funding by the Indian Merchants Chambers (IMC). So, what is the point in the administration spending its own money,” he asked.
However, Manu Srivastava, additional municipal commissioner (projects) said that there was no question of undertaking a feasibility study as the restoration plan was to be undertaken with the space constraints of the entire area.
“The revised plan creates more plaza space, which means there will be space for more people. And not only do we have the MUHCC clearance, we also have the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) nod from Centre,” he added.
Srivastava said that the revised plan of the precinct would be presented before the Standing Committee members in the next meeting. He was confident that it would be passed without much ado, and the work would begin soon.