Cardinal (Archbishop), urged to lead in the moment of crisis: RDDP 2014-2034;




Dear Readers,


Development Plan, RDDP 2014 – 2014, has created quite a flutter, ever  since it was put up for suggestions/objections by BMC, over a year ago. It was then withdrawn, after innumerable errors were seen and pointed out by members of public. After over a year, BMC has again invited suggestions/objections. Looking at the plan minutely, it has been observed that BMC authorities are playing in the hands of certain elements who are trying to erase CHRISTIAN IDENTITY OF MUMBAI. It seems to be a long term plan, beginning with RDDP 2014-2034. Apart from me, these fears are expressed by Executive Director of URBAN DESIGN RESEARCH INSTITUTE (UDRI), in his letter to Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias. Copy of the letter is below.


The following communication, both with, BMC and Archbishop, will enlighten you further about the crisis.




Cardinal Oswald Gracias 1






A7 Rodrigues Compound, Malwani Village, Marve Rd.

Malad (W), Mumbai – 400095;

Contact: Cell: 9870719628; E Mail:

8th, September, 2016



Most Rev. Cardinal Oswald Gracias,


Archdiocese of Bombay;



Your Eminence


SUB:  Effect of RDDP 2014- 2034 on Churches and other Christian Institutions.


At the onset, I thank you for your e mail, appreciating my letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on subject matter.


Reports in the media, particularly about the Municipal Commissioner’s feeble attempt, in explaining, how he is right in deleting the Churches and other institutions, from DP, through the letter to you;  galvanized me into countering his claim, which I did.


Your Eminence, it disappoints us that we learn from the media about Municipal Commissioners letter to you and not from your office. I must emphatically stress over here that it is the lay members of the community, took up this issue with the BMC administration. Organizations like Save our Land – SOUL, Watchdog Foundation and Bombay East Indian Association (BEIA), along with other associations, from day one got into action studying the effects of DP on our institutions. We conducted various workshops to educate members of the community including the clergy. We educated people about filing of objections. A SILENT PROTEST was organized at AZAD MAIDAN by us, where many members of the clergy also were present to address the gathering. Only then the Archdiocesan administration woke up. Hence, it was incumbent upon you or your office, to take these associations into confidence and share the information with them. This is a highly technical and cumbersome matter; therefore, needs to be handled with technical expertise.


From the media, we also learnt that Bishop Dominic Savio Fermandes, along with Fr. Richard Crasto met the Municipal Commissioner. It is not known as to what was discussed at the meeting. However, it doesn’t seem to be very fruitful one. Otherwise, the Commissioner would not be in a hurry to write to you, explaining what he has.


We, in our letter to MC have emphasized on section 22(b) of MRTP ACT of 1966, which makes it mandatory for Municipalities to designate certain institutions on DP. We have brought this to the notice of Municipal Commissioner. Was this matter referred to, in the meeting by the delegation lead by Bishop Dominic Savio fernandes? We doubt very much.


We are given to understand, Mr. Pankaj Joshi, Executive Director, of URBAN DESIGN RESEARCH INSTITUTE (UDRI), in his letter to you, has expressed his concerns about deletion of Churches and other Christian institutions from DP. He has also delved on its long term effect on Churches, like we have done, in our letter to Municipal Commissioner. Unfortunately, this letter too, was not revealed to any of the associations working for the cause. One of the recipients, to whom the copy was marked, gauging the seriousness, forwarded it to us. Hence we came to know about it.


We are a small entity, particularly I; but UDRI is an institution, watching over authorities, planning the city of Mumbai.  Since they have sent you an SOS expressing certain fear, it certainly is a serious matter and they need to be taken seriously. They have advised you to look into it legally. We are sure you will heed their advice. However, there is a need to tackle this issue administratively too, which our team is doing in best possible way. Our team met Chief Minister and apprised him of the anomalies in the DP. Perhaps because of that he has appointed a three member panel to hear the objections submitted by people.


Your Eminence, We have emphasized time and again that some elements are at play to erase CHRISTIAN IDENTITY OF this great CITY OF MUMBAI. It is no more a secret as to who the entity is. I have written number of letters to you, during various attempts by BMC, to demolish HOLY CROSSES, lining the streets of Mumbai. These HOLY CROSSES, most of them over a century old  Symbolize  age of Christian Mumbai, which these elements are trying to erase. It was discussed personally during one of our meetings, where I sounded you of this imminent danger; the danger of gradual erosion of Christian Identity from the city of Mumbai. I remember, you have assigned the task to form a committee to Fr. Warner D’souza and the committee also was formed. But so far not a single meeting was called. Anyways, that is not an issue over here.


We as citizens and Lay Catholics are doing our duty of protecting our Churches and other institutions in best possible way. However, now that danger is lurking at our doorstep; the danger of our CHRISTIAN IDENTITY OF THE CITY OF MUMBAI being obliterated; we, expect you to take a stand as a leader, against this evil and lead the community in this time of crisis. BMC commissioner has made his point clear that he is going ahead with what he has decided, despite directives from Chief Minister to appoint a panel to grant personal hearings to the persons who have submitted objections; and also ignoring section 22(b) of MRTP ACT of 1966.


Your Eminence, since last two and half years, things have changed for the Christians in this secular country. Our religious symbols are being targeted and attacked. Just a week ago, one more HOLY CROSS was desecrated in Juhu, where people from higher strata of the society live. This is not a first incident nor will it be a last one. Complaints to police authorities elicit a standard response. “It is a handy work of a drug addict or a drunkard”. After some time the matter is forgotten and we wait for it to repeat at some other place at some other time. These things occur because the elements creating this nuisance have blessings from their masters.


It is about time, your eminence, for you to stand up and let the powers that be, know that we are not going to take this injustice lying down anymore. We never expected any favorable response from BMC Commissioner, because he seems to be under the spell of that unconstitutional authority, which is governing the country by proxy at present. We therefore, call upon you to escalate our protest at higher level.


We urge you to seek an appointment with Chief Minister and lead a delegation yourself, comprising of knowledgeable persons, including members from SOUL, WatchDog and BEIA, who have created awareness among the masses with their tireless efforts. I wonder if it helps, because it is believed, the CM himself is follower of the same unconstitutional authority. But it certainly will create a flutter all over the country as well in the world media, which will be difficult for the authorities to ignore.


To begin with, I, on behalf of team of SOUL, WatchDog and BEIA request you to grant us an appointment, so that we can brief you personally and chalk out further strategy.


Your Eminence, let us work together to protect our identity. Time is running out for us. This seems to be just a test case by the elements trying to obliterate identity of Christianity from the city; and if we fail to protect it, we are doomed. There could be darker days ahead and we’ll be unable to do anything, then. So please come forward and lead us in our fight for existence.


We shall be waiting eagerly for a call from you.


Yours always, in OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST;








Copy to:                  1. Dolphy D;souza:                SOUL

  1. Adv. Godfrey Pimenta:    WatchDog
  2. Adv. Vivian D’souza:        BEIA



Dear Greg,


I hope you are keeping well.


Thank you for your email of August 19, 2016 which I have just seen. I am passing on your letter to Fr. Richard Crasto, our Estate Officer. I thank you for your active interest in the matter and for keeping me informed.


I had spoken to the Municipal Commissioner and sent Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes to meet him. He has replied to me and this has been reported in the press. We are having his reply studied.


With kind regards and best wishes,


Yours sincerely in Christ,



+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias

Archbishop of Bombay





A7 Rodrigues Compound, Malwani Village, Marve Rd.

Malad (W), Mumbai – 400095;

Contact: Cell: 9870719628; E Mail:


19th, August, 2016;


Chief Minister,

Shri Devendra Fadnavis,                                 copy:





Shri Ajoy Mehta

Commissioner BMC,

BMC Headquarter,

Mumbai – 400001;



Most Respected

Commissioner, BMC;


SUB:  Revised Draft Development Plan (RDDP) – 2034


At the onset, I wish to draw your attention to two media reports related to subject matter, with my comments and views about it. No, they are not only mine, but most of the citizens of Mumbai think alike.


On August, 16 2016, Mirror (Mumbai) reported under caption, ‘State appoints three experts to review DP’; a heartening news for every Mumbaikar, who has arrived at the conclusion that Revised Plan is worst than the earlier one. Your DP report states, proudly so, that around ONE THOUSAND BMC staff worked to correct the DP. But looking at the Revised DP, about which hue and cry was raised by the citizens, the THOUSAND STAFF has done nothing; only wasted taxpayer’s money. No wonder, the State government also opined that something is wrong with DP; hence appointed committee of experts to review it.


Media Report also states that “The panel will hear each and every suggestion objection within two months, after which a consolidated report will be made. This report be placed before the civic general body to discuss and give approval in 60 days to send to the state government for final approval”. Every Mumbaikar who has submitted objections/suggestion is waiting anxiously for the call from the expert panel for hearing. I certainly, am looking forward to it.


Within twenty four hours there was another news report, contradictory to the earlier one. “August, 17 2016; in The Times of India (Mumbai), captioned,`Not marking churches in DP not an omission’ BMC Chief Writes To Archbishop To Allay Community Apprehensions.


Mr. Commissioner, do you think we, the members of Christian Community are so naïve, to not understand your game plan? Are you trying to overrule authority of Chief Minister? Task assigned by Chief Minister to Expert Panel has not even begun and you are out with your decision. Haven’t you received the directive/intimation from Chief Minister’s office? Anyway, you have jumped the gun, nevertheless.


It is a smart move addressing the Archbishop, thinking that the community, who is agitated by flaws in the DP, the deliberate ones with ill intention in long run, will be silent over omission of Churches and other Christian Institutions from the DP. You are mistaken Mr. Commissioner. The community is vary of such moves by you and was waiting with Hawk Eye. You are very well aware, most of the objections are from Christian Community on this issue.


“Designation”, this is the word you have tried to emphasize on, in the letter to Archbishop. “a public amenity provided or aided by an appropriate authority on a parcel of land. Designations by inference are reservations that have already been developed. It also follows that designations were reservations in the earlier DPs and have since fructified in terms of provisions of specified public amenities. Hence, all designations in the earlier DPs those already stand developed would post-development continue to be termed as designations in the subsequent DPs. Such designations continue till the time they exist, unless altered or rescinded by an order of the competent authority,“ states the letter.


Can you see the sentence in bold Mr. Commissioner? That is where the catch is. The same very sentence has exposed your ill intention. I will explain to you with an example:


St. Anthony Church, Malwani; located on CTS No. 1667 of Village Malwani, division Borivali has been shown in the DP of 1991,  but missing from DP 2034. Your logic suits perfectly over here. However, in the Designation Survey of 2034 CTS No. 1667 is ‘Designated’ as Christian Cemetery as well as in the column of ‘Actual use on site’. For your information, CTS No. 1667 is a large tract of land on which stands a four hundred years old Church, over one hundred and fifty years old Parochial house, a mini hall and a very small part of it is taken by cemetery. I wonder how the surveyor could have missed this. No, the surveyor has not missed anything. It is your long term plan, which I have mentioned above coupled with the bold statement, to create problem for the community in future. This is the case with all the other institutions, which have not been marked in DP 2034. Community is apprehensive about this ploy of yours.


Besides, ignoring the directives from Chief Minister, you have also bypassed the law. Section 22 (b) of MRTP Act, 1966, stipulates the proposals for designation of land for public purpose, such as schools, colleges and other educational institutions, medical and public health institutions, markets, social welfare and cultural institutions, theatres and places for public entertainment, or public assembly, museums, art galleries, religious buildings and government and other public buildings as may from time to time be approved by the State Government. Every designations mentioned in the said Section 22 (b) has been duly marked in Revised draft Development Plan except for the religious buildings. To understand my claim, please go through the legends marked at the bottom of every DP sheet, in case you are not aware of it.


Do you have any explanation now, Mr. Commissioner? If you do, then let us know through any medium that suits you. However, I shall be waiting for a call from expert panel for the hearing, appointed by Chief Minister, Shri Devendra Fadnavis.


Appointment of expert panel by Chief Minister, we believe, is because of presentation of the memorandum to him by the delegation of the team comprising of SOUL – Save our Land, WatchDog Foundation, Bombay East Indian Association (BEIA), accompanied by MLA, Shri Nasim Khan. This delegation had also presented a memorandum to Chief Engineer (DP), during the SILET PROTEST at AZAD MAIDAN.


Meanwhile, Mr. Commissioner, you have no option, but to mark every religious place in the DP 2034 as prescribed in MRTP Act 22(b), and wait for the findings of expert panel appointed by Chief Minister.


While concluding this letter, I came across another statement from your letter to Archbishop. “Acquisition is a two-way street. Either the MCGM as the planning authority can initiate acquisition or the owner could seek its acquisition after a lapse of ten years. In case of churches under discussion, this is neither the intended purpose of the BMC nor of the owning private body“.  Was it necessary for you Mr. Commissioner, to make specific reference to Churches? I wonder, why?






Copy to: Oswald Cardinal Gracias: Archbishop of Mumbai.




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