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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Post-independence iconic buildings of Delhi to get heritage tag

Sidhartha Roy, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 29, 2014
First Published: 18:01 IST(29/1/2014) | Last Updated: 19:49 IST(29/1/2014)

Contemporary iconic buildings in the capital that came up in the post-independence period would soon get the ‘heritage’ tag on the lines of protected structures from medieval or colonial eras.
 
The Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) believes that buildings constructed post-independence in Delhi need to be preserved for their historical, cultural or architectural value.
 
It had asked the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), a conservation NGO, to draw up a list of such iconic buildings.
 
Following a study, the NGO submitted a list of 60 buildings that includes the Asiad Village, British Council Library, Ashoka Hotel, Pragati Maidan’s Hall of Nations etc., which could be protected.
 
The shortlist is being further pruned before being submitted to the union urban development ministry.
 
Guidelines for preserving these buildings have also been made that keeps into account preservation and maintenance of these structures but the norms wouldn’t be as stringent as those for monuments from the medieval era, which include not allowing any construction within 100 metres of the monuments.

Read : Rediscover and explore Delhi for free
 
“We want preservation and revival of such buildings and the sooner the guidelines are implemented, the better,” said DUAC chairman Raj Rewal.
 
“Such buildings, which are a part of the city’s life, should be well preserved and can also be part of the tourist map,” he said.
 
Eminent architect and convenor of Intach’s Delhi chapter, AGK Menon, said that the list has been drawn up after consultation and debates with other organisations.
 
“The main idea is to conserve our modern heritage. We want people to understand that a structure doesn’t have to be necessarily ancient or medieval or 100 years old to be considered heritage,” he said.
 
What triggered the idea was the demolition of the iconic Chanakya cinema -- which was based on an award-winning design and considered symbolic of post-independence architecture -- some years ago to make way for a multiplex.
 
Plans to alter Pragati Maidan as part of its revamp also had a hand in the move.
 
“We have included such buildings that tell the story of modern Indian architecture and have contributed to the city’s growth. Chanakya cinema’s demolition was a huge loss and the new guidelines will eliminate similar threats to our contemporary heritage,” Menon said.
 
“The list includes various categories such as residential, institutional and public buildings and even campuses such as Jawaharlal Nehru University,” he said.


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