India has failed to provide additional information sought by UNESCO for considering Delhi for the World Heritage City status as the Centre has developed cold feet.
“Deadline for providing the information in January is nearing. Or else, our nomination will not be considered in the UNESCO general assembly in June this year,” a senior Central government official said.
The urban development ministry had written to the Delhi gover nment on October 27, 2014, wanting to know whether all stakeholders were consulted before filing the nomination for the World Heritage City status.
The ministry also wanted to know how multiple stakeholders will ensure that the UNESCO norms for the World Heritage City tag was maintained. “The ministry was also concerned about the probability of the status hampering the government’s efforts to modernize some of the old areas of the Capital,” an official said.
The Delhi government wrote back to the urban development ministry saying that land use regulation and the Lutyens’ Bung alow Zone area were already defined in the DDA master plan 2021 and building bye-laws. And these regulations are monitored at various levels.
Delhi chief secretary D M Spolia — as already reported by Hindustan Times— also wrote that the Central government and the Delhi government had a well-established system of governance to protect and conserve the areas nomination for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage City, and they will continue to apply even if UNESCO grants the status.
The urban development ministry is yet to reply to Spolia’s letter. When contacted urban development secretary Shankar Aggarwal said, “We got the proposal from Delhi government only three days back. We will examine it before giving our comments”.
The culture ministry is a nodal office for providing the infor mation sought by UNESCO after a field visit in October this year. A UNESCO team had visited over 200 monuments in the walled city of Shahjahanabad, popularly known as old Delhi, and Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone nominated for the World Heritage Status.
But, the ministry officials say they are yet to receive the information from the Delhi government in this regard. The Delhi government has, however, blamed the last minute intervention by the Urban Development Ministry for the delay.