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Secure area around dilapidated Esplanade Mansion: Bombay HC to MHADA

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 21, 2019  | 16:43 IST

Mumbai, Jun 21 (PTI) Noting that pedestrian safety was of paramount importance, the Bombay High Court Friday directed the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) to take necessary steps to secure the area around the dilapidated Esplanade Mansion. All the occupants of the 150-year-old heritage structure in south Mumbai were evicted after the building was declared as dangerous. On the directions of the high court, the MHADA has put up barricades around the building, prohibiting pedestrians from using the footpath around the structure. A division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel, however, noted that the upper portions and balconies of the building are yet to be covered and there are chances that some part of the upper portions may collapse. "The upper portions and balconies should also be covered. Pedestrian safety is of paramount importance. We do not want any untoward incident," the court said. The bench directed senior officials of the MHADA, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the joint commissioner of Mumbai Police concerned to convene a meeting on what safety measures need to be undertaken around the building. The court directed that a report to be submitted to it within two weeks on the issue. The bench was hearing an application filed by the MHADA, seeking permission to implement the recommendations made by IIT Bombay to demolish the building. The bench was informed by BMC counsel Anil Sakhare that few experts have opined to the civic body's heritage committee that the building need not be demolished, but can be repaired and restored. Sakhare said the heritage committee is yet to take a final decision. The court said at this stage it was not accepting or rejecting the contention of either the MHADA or the BMC. "Presently, we are only concerned with the safety measures," it said. The five-floor Esplanade Mansion, formerly known as Watson's Hotel, was built with cast iron fabricated in England and was enrolled in the list of '100 World Endangered Monuments'. PTI SP NP SNE SNE

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