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Delhi seeks UNESCO’s heritage city status

The Delhi Govt will soon sign a MoU with INTACH, which will facilitate the endeavor for the coveted UNESCO status, reports Amitabh Shukla.
By Amitabh Shukla | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2008 02:20 AM IST

Stating that it has been the country's capital for the last almost 1,000 years with a few decades of interregnum, Delhi now wants status of World Heritage city from UNESCO. And a tentative blueprint on how the capital will get the World Heritage City status has already been prepared.

As a first step, the Delhi government would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which will facilitate the endeavor for the coveted UNESCO status.

A Cabinet note on the issue has been prepared and it was put up before the Delhi Cabinet on Monday. An official said it has been “deferred” for the time being and is likely to be taken up during the next meeting.

According to the proposal, INTACH would provide expertise and consultancy for meeting objectives of grooming Delhi as a Heritage City and will formulate heritage related architectural and design schemes. It has also been decided that the trust would bring heritage awareness among the citizens through media, heritage walks and various training programmes for guides and students.

Delhi government would fund the project by providing INTACH Rs 20 lakh for preparing a conceptual report for the purpose. After this report, the government would commission Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for specific heritage projects and separate fees would be paid for it.

The draft of the MoU, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, says the government on its part would set up a Joint Heritage Task Force with INTACH and other experts. Principal Secretary (Tourism) will be the chairman of this task force, while the CMD of Delhi Tourism will be the nodal officer and member secretary. Heads of civic bodies and senior officials will be the members of the task force, which will be constituted solely for conservation, preservation and promotion of heritage. This task force will have meetings at regular intervals to draw heritage related strategy and execute them.

The MoU also lists INTACH’s responsibilities. It will provide expertise and consultancy for grooming Delhi as a Heritage City for five years. “It will also formulate a comprehensive plan for lighting and beautifying appurtenant areas of the monuments and heritage precincts in time for the Commonwealth Games,” said the draft MoU.

The state government will monitor activities to be undertaken by INTACH and provide the required administrative and material support. The government will also provide the residual and financial support in the entire exercise.

According to the draft of the MoU, disputes, if any, would be resolved by an arbitrator to be nominated by the Lt Governor. In case, there is any violation of the MoU, it can be cancelled.

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