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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Heritage tag will have to wait

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 05, 2012
First Published: 23:16 IST(5/11/2012) | Last Updated: 23:19 IST(5/11/2012)

It’s official. Delhi’s wait for getting into the ‘World Heritage City’ list has been extended till 2015, at the least.

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The city’s final proposal will now be considered only at the June 2015 meeting of Unesco.

If Ahmedabad — in the tentative list since March 2011 — manages to send the final dossier on time, it would be considered by Unesco in June 2013.

If approved, the Gujarat city would be India’s first World Heritage City.   

After delays in sending the proposal to the world heritage agency before March 31, officials in Delhi and at the Centre had said that Delhi’s proposal for inclusion in the tentative list was a matter of formality.

Unesco uploaded Delhi’s dossier on its list of tentative sites only in May 2012.

However, the Centre’s Advisory Committee on World Heritage Matters conveyed to the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) — the nodal body representing the Delhi government — that the final dossier can be sent only in January 2014.

“They wanted a specific format, which we received very late,” said Shikha Jain, member secretary of the committee.

From May 2012, it includes a compulsory gap of at least one year. “They (Unesco) introduced this rule in November 2011 to restrict the number of proposals,” Jain added.

“It was just 8-10 days ago that we got an official communication,” said AGK Menon, who heads INTACH’s Delhi chapter.

But rather than delay, Menon preferred to call it as a “blessing in disguise” as “Delhi would get more time to put up a more considered, better dossier with so much time at hand”.

The procedure for the final notification is indeed tough and preparation of the detailed dossier is a long drawn process.

After the January 31 deadline for a given year (January 2014 in case of Delhi), Unesco generally takes 18 months before it considers the proposal in its annual meeting in June.


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