Ahmedabad Parsi Sanatorium Likely to be Destroyed

A 35-foot road has been planned along the stretch that has the sanatorium

A 90-year-old structure which is part of the Parsi heritage in the city is in the middle of a raging controversy. Located on the Sabarmati Riverfront, the Parsi Sanatorium Compound is likely to be destroyed if the civic body implements its revised city development plan. As per Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority’s Second Revised Draft Development Plan 2021, a 35-foot road has been planned as part of the road alignment scheme in the area. It is likely to pass through the sanatorium premises for which the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation will be required to demolish the structure.

The Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat has received a notice from AMC and plans to take legal recourse in the matter. Built in 1920, the Parsi Sanatorium Compound houses the sanatorium itself, part of which is used as a dharamshala. “The compound also has four residential blocks, known as ‘charity blocks’,” said Brigadier Jahangir Anklesaria, president of the Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat. As of now, 18 families reside in these blocks. The Parsi Panchayat constructs and allots heavily subsided or free charity flats to poor and middle-class Parsis as per their income.

“The Second Revised Draft Development Plan 2021 has included several new projects, including a Central Business District (CBD), a Transit-Oriented Zone and Residential Affordable Housing Zone for which the Local Area Plans are already underway. As part of the CBD’s road alignment scheme, a 35-foot road has been planned along the area that has the sanatorium. This will affect the charity blocks as well as the main buildings as AMC will need to demolish the buildings to construct the road,” said Anklesaria. The Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat reportedly received a notice from the AMC regarding the matter in June.

“We approached AMC officials for clarity, and were told that the local body has sent a proposal to the state government. So we are waiting for the state to respond to this proposal,” said the brigadier, who said the community is willing to take legal recourse to fight for their heritage structure. Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Urban Planning) Ranjit Barad told Mirror, “This is just the proposed plan which is yet to be approved by the government. As per the new rules, Floor Space Index (FSI) proposed for CBD is 5.4 so a high-rise building will be constructed in the area if it is approved by the government. If a community’s property falls in the selected area, then the civic body will negotiate with them.”

Caught in this tussle, meanwhile, are the 18 families that live in the charity blocks. A resident, on condition of anonymity, told Mirror, “We’ve been living here for 30 years now. It will be extremely painful if the AMC takes away this land and razes the buildings for a new road. The land is owned by the Parsi Panchayat and we are sure they try their best to save this plot.” Meanwhile, the Parsi Panchayat is in talks with AMC as they have sought land near the Sanatorium Compound for Vakil Adariyan Agiyari fire temple. At present, the fire temple is located in Bukhara Mohalla at Khamasa Crossroads in the Walled City. As per Anklesaria, the encroachments on the premises have made it tough for community members to visit the temple. “We want to shift out the agiyari at the earliest. We have written to the state government and AMC to provide us land where we can shift the temple but are yet to hear from them,” he said

Published on Ahmedabad Mirror