The Capital may be vying for a place in UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage City, but heritage is clearly not an issue for those trying to wrest power in municipal elections.
There are 1,000-odd listed heritage structures under MCD jurisdiction but neither the Congress nor BJP manifesto speak of any schemes for heritage.
While the BJP manifesto mentions property tax exemption for all certified heritage buildings, Congress has promised tourism centres to attract people and for heritage conservation.
Of the nearly 1,200 heritage structures, buildings and monuments spread across Delhi, the ASI takes care of only 174. The Delhi government is responsible for nearly 200 such structures. “The rest is under the care of the civic body. It can make all the difference,” says AGK Menon, a conservation architect.
But even after so many years, plans for redevelopment of heritage areas such as Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk are languishing. Mehrauli and Chandni Chowk have a number of heritage havelis, which need conservation.
BJP’s Subhash Arya defended his party: “Property tax exemption is an incentive for those who can’t maintain heritage buildings. We will also come up with more plans for conserving heritage.”
JP Agarwal, DPCC chief, said, “Plans are already afoot to take care of the basic infrastructure in areas such as Chandni Chowk. (But) conservation of heritage buildings needs crores of rupees. We are working on a policy.”
The problem, Menon says, is “heritage is still seen as an abstract idea, a hurdle for development.”