The last panel of Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) may have courted many controversies by refusing to kowtow Delhi government’s line and give blanket approval to all projects related to Commonwealth Games.
This, new DUAC chairman KT Ravindran says, has elevated the commission’s position. Ranvindran took charge of the commission last week.
“It is very important that the independence of the commission is maintained and rendered in an unbiased way. It is the only negotiating platform in the city from where public interest is weighed against independent projects. The earlier panel headed by Charles Correa actually elevated the position of the commission,” said Ravindran.
The focus of the DUAC, says Ravindran, will be to ensure all core projects linked with the Commonwealth Games are cleared as fast as possible. “The Games are very consequential for the city. We will ensure that the Game happens gracefully without compromising with principles of urban design, environment and heritage,” he said.
Asked what will be his team’s criteria for approving development projects, Ravindran said, “The bottom line is that all projects should benefit the city. I will rely on the competence of my team to decide them.”
He added that though development in a growing city like Delhi is necessary, but the commission will ensure that the impact of development on the environment is minimised.
“One important thing is to ensure that the spirit of Delhi — which is its heritage and environment — is not compromised,” he said.
The advisory body formed in 1973 to preserve and develop the aesthetic quality of urban environmental design within Delhi was reconstituted on May 30, after a gap of over two months following the mass resignation by the earlier panel.
The move was triggered following the panel’s differences with the government over a number of infrastructure projects linked to the Commonwealth Games.
These included the controversial tunnel road and the East-West Corridor project. The members of the reconstituted panel include Delhi University historian Nayanjot Lahiri, landscape expert Mohammad Shaheer and conservation architect Ratish Nanda.
Asked if decision taken by the earlier panel would be reviewed, Ravindran said, “Whatever decisions have been taken would be valued. We will try to see how we can carry that forward.”