Colonial heritage comes under wheels of progress | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Colonial heritage comes under wheels of progress

delhi Updated: Dec 02, 2009 23:32 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

At a time when various other government authorities are trying to showcase Delhi’s rich heritage ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is going to demolish a colonial-era bungalow for an upcoming flyover project near Tis Hazari.

The civic body has already started land acquisition for the 1.61-km flyover from Filmistan on Rani Jhansi Road to St Stephen’s Hospital near Tis Hazari. Of the several heritage structures that would be affected due to the flyover, Bishop House, situated inside the Methodist Church complex — built in the 1930s — would be razed completely.

The church authorities have been issued eviction notices and they have been asked to vacate the bungalow premises by December 7.

Old proposal

This project was originally sanctioned in the early 1990s. MCD took all this while to shift the tyre market and other shops in the area. The Unified Traffic and Transport (Infrastructure and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) recently cleared the revived proposal and

Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) chairman Prof KT Ravindran said, “The proposal has not come to us during the last one and a half years. It was cleared long back — October 21, 1995.”

However, it was only after 2000 that INTACH came up with a heritage listing for the city and MCD’s list of heritage properties is based on INTACH’s list. As per the procedure, when the proposal was revived, the civic body should have taken into consideration the fact that the flyover project would mean demolition/alteration in heritage buildings. Traffic conditions have changed drastically since the 1990s. Two metro stations have come up in the vicinity.

Sources in the civic body said, the flyover project would also partly affect facades of several other listed heritage buildings like Queen Mary’s school and St Stephen’s Hospital Chapel.

MCD director (Press and Information) Deep Mathur argued, “These are not yet heritage buildings because these are not notified.”

Bishop SS Singh of the Methodist Church in India said, “We had taken up the issue with authorities a number of times, but to no avail. Instead, we were told this is necessary in the interest of larger public good.”

The church authorities have finally accepted monetary compensation. Residents of bungalows number 12, 14, 16 (including the Bishop’s House) and 12 quarters in the Methodist mission compound are packing up.