In the year 2003, Notices were issued by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for demolition of several religious structures including Holy Crosses all over Mumbai. At that time, our people ignored the seriousness behind the said Notice and did not make any attempt to gather proof by way of requisite documents and old records of the existence of our Holy Crosses.
After a period of almost 7 years, the MCGM has issued Notices under Section 314 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, to several of our Holy Crosses in the City of Mumbai to prove the legality of the said Holy Crosses.
Maharashtrian East Indian Christian Federation (MEICF) requests individual owners/caretakers of all our Holy Crosses to first approach their local Municipal Councillors and/or the local Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and/or the local Members of Parliament (MPs) and seek extension of time from their respective Municipal Ward Offices for submitting the requisite documents, as it takes several days to apply for and obtain copies of Survey Plans/Extracts from the concerned Authorities.
Simultaneously, MEICF also requests the owners/caretakers of the Holy Crosses to approach the Offices of the Collector of Mumbai, City Survey Department/Office of the Talathi/Office of MCGM, Mahapalika Marg, within their jurisdiction, with the help of the local Municipal Councillors and/or MLAs and/or MPs and search for Plans/Extracts and old records from the Survey Sheets available at the said Offices in respect of Survey done by them in the years 1918 and 1954 respectively. Kindly try looking out for the divisions as per the old records, as due to developments in the respective areas, the said divisions have changed. For example “Wadala Area” is known as “Dadar Naigaum Division” and “Govari Village” is known as “Matunga Division”.
In order to search for the old records, plans and extracts please approach the following Offices:
(i) Areas from Mahim to Colaba and Sion to Colaba - the Development Plan Department on the 5th Floor of Municipal Head Office at Mahapalika Marg, Opp. CST Station, or the City Survey Department on the 1st Floor of the Office of the Collector of Mumbai, Old Custom House, Fort;
(ii) Areas from Bandra to Andheri - the City Survey Office at Santacruz (West);
(iii) Areas from Andheri to Kandivli - the City Survey Office at Goregaon;
(iv) Areas after Kandivli onwards - the City Survey Office at Borivali;
(v) Areas in “R” Ward - the City Survey Office at Borivali;
(vi) Areas from Kurla to Mulund - the City Survey Office at Mulund; and
(vii) Areas ahead of Thane – the Office of the Collector at Thane.
Please give emphasis to the records available at the Office of the Collector of Mumbai as their Plans clearly mention the years 1918 or 1954 at the top of Survey Sheets. One can also get the plans from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Mahapalika Marg, Head Office, Development Plan Department on the 5th Floor by asking for Tikka Sheets.
MEICF requests you to kindly fill the “Setu Suvidha Kendra Form” at the Office of the Collector of Mumbai by mentioning the Cadastral Survey Numbers and Sheet Numbers (one form for each Holy Cross) and affix a Court Fee Stamp of ` 5/- and submit the form by paying nominal charges for the Survey Plans/Extract. Normally, it takes about two months to get the said Plans from the said Office, but due to constraint of time, please try to expedite the same by paying extra charges and obtain the Survey Plans/Extracts duly endorsed by the Office of the Collector of Mumbai/Talathi/Municipality.
Thereafter, these Survey Plans/Extracts should be forwarded with a covering letter addressed to the Assistant Municipal Commissioner (Ward Officer) alongwith photographs (i.e. close up and long distance photographs of the Holy Crosses) of the old Holy Crosses as well as those taken after the Holy Crosses were renovated and obtain an acknowledgement from the Office. Please handover one set of photocopies of the duly acknowledged letters to (i) your Parish Priest, (ii) your local friends or relatives in your vicinity, and (iii) His Eminence, the Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias, so that in future, in your absence, if a similar situation arises the said documents can be immediately submitted to the Municipality or any other Authorities.
MEICF further request the owners/caretakers of the Holy Crosses that even if Notices for submitting proofs have not been received from the Municipal Offices, please follow the procedure mentioned above and obtain all records from the respective Offices, as the Officers of the concerned department of the Municipal Ward Offices clearly state that due to renovation they have misplaced the records of the Holy Crosses submitted by several people in 2003 and an onus has been put on us to prove the legality of the Holy Crosses existing prior to 1964.
MEICF further requests the owners/caretakers of the Holy Crosses not to allow the Municipal Officers/MMRDA/other Government Bodies to shift the Holy Crosses without these Officials sending official letters to them, as it has been noted that in the past the said officials had not sent any letters to the owners/caretakers of the Holy Crosses but conveniently shifted the Holy Crosses on the footpath or any other places for road widening or any other development schemes without updating their records accordingly.
MEICF herewith makes a personal request to all our Catholic brethren that in case of death or absence of persons who have erected the Holy Crosses kindly gather proof of the Holy Crosses in their locality from the respective Offices of the Collector/Municipality/Talathi and handover the same to the Parish Priests and His Eminence, Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias. In case, any individual requires any help from MEICF, kindly feel free to contact the following Members:
Mr. Herbert David Barretto (9619353433/9702800900),
Adv. Ms. Sulendra John Farro (9869603387),
Mr. Ashwin Fernandes (9022308919),
Mr. Alphonso Tao (9224335003/9322872981), and
Mr. Clement Stephen Farro (9967566444).
MEICF also requests His Eminence, Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias to collate and compile a book of the data of all the Holy Crosses and Churches in Greater Mumbai and Mumbai Region along with photographs so that in case any queries are raised at a future date, one can easily refer to the said data. MEICF would like to contribute initially a sum of ` 10,000/- towards expenses for the same.
Members of MEICF would be grateful to His Eminence, Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias, if he can instruct all the Parish Priests of the respective Churches to find out how many East Indian, Goan, Mangalorian, Keralite, Tamilian Christians are residing in the respective Parishes and forward their complete addresses, mobile and landline numbers and email addresses along with the business details to MEICF. This will help MEICF in networking with them directly in case of emergency to gather them at one place.”