Delhi: Pragati Maidan’s Hall of Nations demolition triggers outrage

About half a dozen bulldozers worked overnight on Sunday at Pragati Maidan to pull down five iconic buildings — Hall of Nations and Industry. Next to come under the hammer is Nehru Pavilion.
India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) dempolished Pragati Maidan's Hall of Nations on Sunday Night.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) dempolished Pragati Maidan's Hall of Nations on Sunday Night.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on May 01, 2017 09:09 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | BySanjeev K Ahuja, New Delhi

About half a dozen bulldozers worked overnight on Sunday at Pragati Maidan to pull down five iconic buildings — Hall of Nations and Industry. Next to come under the hammer is Nehru Pavilion.

Indian trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) razed the structures two days after their architect Raj Rewal lost the case in Delhi high court on April 20. Conservationists are perplexed as the demolition took place as one petition by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to save these structures is still being heard in the same court with next hearing slated for May 1.

ITPO is setting up a world-class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) with project value of Rs2,254 crore. The complex will have hotel, mall/multi-level food court, water bodies display, helipad and other tourist attractions.

Read more: Pragati Maidan makeover mired in legal trouble, could miss deadline

The five structures — one of Hall of Nations and four of Hall of Industries — were commissioned in 1972 and the architect claims that these were the world’s first pillar less concrete frame structures.

AGK Menon, former convener, Delhi Chapter INTACH said, “It’s all over now. As the ITPO did not wait for the court to pronounce its decision, we have lost all hope. Hall of Nations was demolished quietly on Sunday night when the entire world slept. As these iconic buildings no more exist, we cannot move the apex court.”

The Hall of Nations was the venue of Asia 1972 — the third Asian International Trade Fair coinciding with the India’s silver jubilee year of Independence.

The Hall of Nations was constructed in 1972. (Handout)
The Hall of Nations was constructed in 1972. (Handout)

In a joint statement by architect Raj Rewal, structural engineer Mahendra Raj, former convener of INTACH, Delhi Chapter AGK Menon and president, Indian Institute of Architects Divya Kush said, “We consider the demolition of the Hall of Nations at Pragati Maidan an act of outrage. The case was being heard in the Delhi high court and the hearings were scheduled on April 27 and May 1, 2017.”

“In fact as an answer to our letter to the Prime Minister, the ministry of commerce indicated to us to find an amicable resolution with the trade fair authority. But obviously somebody in the ITPO had other motives,” the statement said.

In a written statement, ITPO CMD LC Goyal said the execution of IECC requires dismantling of Hall No. 1 to 6, 14 to 20 and state pavilions, including Hall of Nations, Nehru Pavilion and Hall of Industry — which he claimed are not classified as heritage buildings.

“Earlier a PIL and two writ petitions filed by India Institute of Architects in Court of Delhi were dismissed. Presently, a writ petition filed by INTACH is pending in the high court of Delhi. The high court on April 20, 2017, has dismissed another writ petition filed by Raj Rewal seeking to declare and preserve Hall of Nations, Hall of Industry and Nehru Pavilion as work of art of national importance. An appeal has been filed against the dismissal, but there is no stay granted by the court in any of the writ petitions against demolition of structures envisaged in the re-development of Pragati Maidan,” Goyal said.

Goyal said the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) has maintained that only those buildings which are at least 60 years old can be considered for inclusion in the heritage list.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • According to information from BMC’s heritage cell, Khotachiwadi is listed as a precinct, and before construction will start, permission from the heritage committee of the civic body will be required for the work. (Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

    Khotachiwadi residents to submit grievance letter to BMC against redevelopment of bungalow

    Mumbai: Striving to preserve the 200-year-old heritage precinct of Khotachiwadi in Girgaum, in South Mumbai, its residents will submit a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Monday urging the civic body to follow-up on its decision to file a First Information Report (FIR) against unauthorised demolition and the plan for the redevelopment of a bungalow in the precinct.

  • HT Image

    Owner of Korean restaurant booked for serving liquor without licence in Noida

    The owner of newly opened Korean restaurant in Sector 153 has been booked for serving liquor without a licence, said police on Friday. “During a routine check of bars and restaurants, a Korean restaurant — 'The fine Korean Dine & Hoolala Korean BBQ Chicken', located in Vardhman Tower in Sector 153, was found serving liquor to its customers without a bar licence,”rB Singh, district excise officer, Gautam Budh Nagarh said.

  • HT Image

    Minister asks Yamuna Expressway authority to pay additional compensation to farmers

    Nand Gopal Gupta 'Nandi', minister for industrial development, Uttar Pradesh, has asked the Yamuma Expressway industrial development authority (Yeida) to pay 64.7% additional compensation to farmers for their land over the next three months. Yeida has already sanctioned a 127 crore budget to develop 96 villages as smart villages, with free Wi-Fi, clean roads, drainage, sewage, and drinking water supply, among other facilities.

  • Around 30 dyeing units on Kakka Dhola road, adjoining sewer treatment plant (STP), Jamalpur, Ludhiana,were also dumping the waste in the MC lines through a joint illegal sewer connection. That connection has also been snapped by the MC team. (HT PHOTO)

    Ludhiana MC snaps illegal sewer connections of over three dozen dyeing units

    Acting against the dyeing units, which have been illegally dumping the untreated waste in the municipal corporation's sewer lines even after the establishment of common effluent treatment plants (CETP), SIngh disconnected over three dozen connections of dyeing units in Focal Point area, Kakka Dhola Road and Tajpur road on Friday.

  • HT Image

    As cops begin anti-encroachment drive, Noida auto union demands auto stands

    The Noida Autorickshaw Drivers' Association has put forth a demand to provide drivers with auto stands across the city. There are only six earmarked auto stands in the city - one each at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, the Botanical Garden Metro station, the Ganga shopping complex at Sector 29, the Sector 12/22 crossing, Sector 21, and Sector 6.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, May 20, 2022