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Delhi must wait to turn heritage city

delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2009 23:59 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

The idea of turning Delhi into a heritage city in time for the Commonwealth Games 2010 was first mooted in 2005.

The proposal is likely to get delayed.

Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy, who is also in-charge of the ministry of culture, on Thursday, informed Rajya Sabha that there was no provision called ‘heritage city’ under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

“There is no provision called Heritage City and only heritage sites, historical ancient monuments and archaeological sites have been mentioned in the Act,” he said in a reply to a question tabled by DMK MP Kanimozhi.

In 2008, Delhi government's Department of Archaeology had signed an agreement with Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a conservation body, for developing the Capital as a heritage city.

“The memorandum was a step towards development of the Capital’s cultural heritage to get the coveted status of a ‘Heritage City’,” said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.

Delhi has more than 1,200 heritage structures and monuments. According to the rules, only the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) can apply to the UNESCO for a ‘World Heritage City’ status for Delhi.

“We are aware that there is no provision in the Act for a ‘Heritage City’. Certain changes are needed. But we are lobbying for it,” said AGK Menon,

convenor of INTACH's Delhi chapter.

INTACH would do the groundwork to facilitate government agencies. “The advantages this status would bring are huge, but it will need a change in attitude,” Menon said.