Measures such as floating floor-area ratio (FAR) for old buildings and soft loans for restoration of heritage havelies in the Walled City are in the pipeline. These are supposed to prevent owners from pulling down vintage structures and converting them into modern buildings.
The Delhi chapter of the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) — the agency helping out Delhi government in the process of securing a World Heritage City nomination — has suggested incentives to be incorporated in the pending special byelaws for Shahjahanabad as conservation zone as per the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021.
These measures can also be inducted into the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) monument-specific heritage byelaws.
“The ASI’s heritage byelaws, the special byelaws as per MPD 2021 need to be in sync with the building byelaws. We are suggesting that the owners of old buildings be restricted from any alterations to the basic structure,” said AGK Menon from INTACH.
“Rebuilding can be allowed for crumbling structures but the footprint and the volume should be the same,” Menon added.
Learning from the Ahmedabad example — also in race with Delhi for nomination of World Heritage City — it has been suggested that the congested old city area can have a floating FAR/FSI.
“As an incentive, the owners of old buildings can transfer the FSI from the Walled City to other identified areas for a high rise,” he said.
For heritage haveli owners, the incentive can be soft loans for restoration and helping them not to pull down old buildings.