Left to decay

The proposed Delhi Heritage Bill comes under attack for its ambiguity

Published: Thursday 30 April 1998

Several architects, conservators and planners have criticised the proposed Delhi Heritage Bill 1997 as it leaves out many heritage sites from its preview. At a seminar held recently at School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, they suggested that more categories under heritage should be included in the legislation: living areas such as historic villages, places of worship, colonial heritage, historical and traditional housing, cultural landscapes, water structures, historic gardens, fortress citadels and archaeological parks, as also underground heritage and the imperial capitals of Delhi including Shahajanabad and New Delhi.

Nalini Thakur, the head of department of conservation, spa , pointed out that the bill is only a repetition of the National Monuments Act of 1958 and is not specific to Delhi. "The proposed bill blindly follows the 100 year rules of the ancient Monuments Act of 1958. Lutyens and colonial Delhi brings the age factor to less than 100 years," says Ranesh Ray, a Delhi-based conservator.

Referring to the various development projects in Delhi, Ravi Aggarwal of Srishti, a Delhi-based Non-governmental organisation (NGO), emphasised the lack of synergy between planners and the natural heritage. He was hinting at the Delhi Development Authority's (DDA) hotel project at Vasant Kunj, which comes under the Ridge forest area.

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