Heritage panel denies ‘chatri’ for Ambedkar statue

Says such covers are generally associated with royalty

Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee has denied permission for a 'chatri' or decorative cover over the Cooperage Babasaheb Ambedkar statue.

City district collector, through the assistant municipal commissioner of 'A' ward, had sought permission to instal the 'chatri', to be funded by the district planning committee, ahead of the Ambedkar death anniversary function at the site on December 6.

The cover needs a no-objection certificate from the heritage committee since the statue is within 100 metres of Oval Maidan, a grade-I heritage site, and in the 'Oval sub-precinct of Fort precinct'.

The committee said a 'chatri' was generally associated with royalty. It is provided "only for statues of gods and/or kings and especially for statues in a sitting position".

The committee said the umbrella with a supporting pole would "hamper visibility of the statue from some angles". It also noted the application received from the 'A' ward office did not include location plan and 'chatri' design.

Collector C V Oak said, "I received the suggestion (for the 'chatri') and forwarded it to the 'A' ward officer for permissions. It was denied approval because we did not submit the entire plan. We have now sent the full plan."

A heritage committee member present at the meeting said, "We refused permission and asked for more details. The issue may be discussed in our December meeting."

A few years ago, the state had proposed a grand memorial near Chaityabhoomi, Ambedkar's final resting place in Dadar. The proposal is pending as National Textile Corporation, which owns Indu Mill, is yet to part with the 12.5 acres needed.

In October, RPI and BJP held a 'jail bharo andolan' protesting the delay in handing over Indu Mill land for the memorial. On November 12, CM Prithviraj Chavan said the government would soon construct the memorial even if the Centre retained ownership of the land.

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