Mehergir is a synonymous name associated with the famous scientist Homi Bhabha. It was the residence of him and Jamshed Bhabha, the industrial-philanthropist. It went under the hammer in 2014. The historic Bhabha bungalow is believed to have been purchased by the Jamshyd Godrej family for Rs 372 crore.
There was quite a hue and cry regarding the historic bungalow’s sale. But the good news is the new owners are not willing to damage the property. The iconic bungalow has an area of 17,550 square ft property. It is a sea-facing heritage property that faces the sea.
When the news of the sale became public, two employees filed the PIL i.e. TIFR and BARC. Homi Bhabha was the founder of both the Tata Institute Of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). However, a refusal was declared by Mumbai High Court in order to place a stay at the auction.
The New Owners
As a result, the historic Bhabha bungalow was sold to the new owners. The real estate builders in Mumbai placed the iconic property under the block with the help of the current owner. The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has reported there were eight prospective buyers. All of them were interested. However, due to the PIL and media controversies, only three buyers participated.
The mandate to sell the property lay with Jones Lang Lasalle, the global property consultant. The western region head of the firm, Ujwala Rao, stated the bungalow had been purchased for residential use. As a result, it will be in good condition. Also, no builders in Mumbai bid for the property. The reason is a height restriction in the area. It is hence believed the new owner has bought it for end-use.
Request To Prime Minister
However, the demand for preserving the property is still on. During the sale, Prithviraj Chavan, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, urged the place to be converted to a museum. He and CNR Rao, a professor who was awarded as a Bharat Ratna winner, petitioned PM Narendra Singh Modi. The petition was to save the bungalow and the request was placed in front of the Prime Minister.
Since the sale, many questions have been raised. As per BARC, it should be turned into a museum dedicated to the achievements of Homi Bhabha’s.
It has been said the proceedings from the auction will be used by NCPA. They would use the fund to upgrade their equipment, modernize the theatres and expand their cultural activities.
There has also been criticism that BARC has enough money to participate in the auction and purchase the property.
One Of The Most Expensive Properties
It has now been noticed how Mehergir is managed. The 17 room bungalow has become one of the expensive properties in India. The 50-year-old heritage property also has a private library and veranda. It has been reported that the bungalow sold at Rs.2.18 lakh per square foot.
Later on, there was a plea to declare the historic Bhabha bungalow as a national monument. However, in 2015 the pleas were rejected by the high court.