Esplanade Mansion: MHADA tells court it has less funds

Mumbai: Even as three experts have recommended the restoration of Esplanade Mansion, the heritage structure at South Mumbai, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) on Monday told the Bombay High Court that it has almost no funds for the work.

This comes on the heels of the recommendation of the experts, who have said the restoration work would require at least Rs. 100 crore.

A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Burgess Colabawalla was further informed of the 'discrepancies' in the reports of the experts – structural engineers and conservative architects – who have prepared two separate reports of the structure.

Advocate Chirag Balsara, appearing for the owners of the Esplanade Mansion, told the judges that while the structural engineers have suggested restoring the building without dismantling the entire structure, the conservation architects have recommended to first dismantle the building and then proceed with the restoration work.

“The structural engineers have recommended restoration without dismantling as they have given a finding that the corrosion (of the structure) is only five per cent. Their report must be considered against that of the architects, who are not structural experts,” Balsara told the court.

The submission was countered by senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, who told the court that there two reports and both require consideration.

“But there are discrepancies in the two reports and the same must be discussed,” Dwarkadas said.

Meanwhile, the advocate appearing for MHADA told the court that the authority does not have many funds. “The reports suggest Rs. 100 crore for restoration but that is not our budget. We only have a budget of Rs. 20 crores,” the counsel submitted.

Having heard the parties, Justice Kathawalla ordered the structural engineer and also the two conservative architects to remain present in the court on February 11 to discuss the discrepancies.

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