The heritage property that occupies a prime sea-facing location will be rented at ?1 per annum for 30 years.
Mumbai (The Hindu): The city seems no closer to knowing who it’s new mayor is going to be; perhaps the only certainty is that she or he will not get the privilege of living in the heritage building on the Dadar seaface where the city’s First Citizen has lived since 1964. The building, which dates back to 1928 and was purchased by the BMC in 1962 to be the mayor’s official residence, was, on Monday, handed over to the Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak Nyas (BTRSN) to create a memorial to the Shiv Sena party’s founder, Bal Thackeray.
The proposal had been passed in the BMC’s improvement committee prior to the civic elections, before the code of conduct came in to force. With the end of elections now over, and prior to the installation of the new general body, the proposal was passed on Monday in the civic general body, without discussion. The state government has already issued an ordinance to lease out the property to the BRTSN, which is headed by Mr Thackeray’s son and successor as Shiv Sena chief, Uddhav Thackeray.
The plot, admeasuring 11,551 sq.m., at Swatantryaveer Savarkar Marg, will be handed over to the BTRSN at a nominal rate of ?1 per annum for a period of 30 years. According to the proposal, the BTRSN can use 1 : 1.33-floor space index for the memorial. It cannot sub-lease or rent the plot to third party. It also cannot carry out additional construction, repairs or changes without the prior permission of civic officials and approval from the Heritage Committee.
The conversion of the bungalow and its grounds into a memorial is now in the hands of the chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, as the work will be done by the Urban Development Department which reports to the CM. The state government had appointed a committee, headed by chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya, to finalise the site for the memorial. The committee approved the bungalow for the memorial after visiting several sites.
The current mayor, Snehal Ambekar, said that the BMC has cleared its duty, and now the state government has to act on it. She said, the urban development department will develop the memorial in the bungalow after getting proper permissions from the concerned authorities. The new mayor is likely to shift in the bungalow situated at the Byculla Zoo.”
The bungalow in the zoo premises that Ms. Ambekar referred to, formerly the residence of the zoo superintendent, is one of several residences owned by the BMC that have been discussed as the new mayoral accommodation (the others are in Malabar Hill, but smaller properties). The building in the zoo has been vacant for more than a year, and maintenance work has been carried out. Once the new mayor occupies the bungalow, modifications and further interior designing will be carried out as per her or his requirements and taste.
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