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Heritage experts dissatisfied with SC’s verdict, worry about future changes


Heritage experts expressed their displeasure at Tuesday’s Supreme Court verdict that said only part of the Vista Central area can be declared a heritage precinct while all environmental and land-use changes are approved to pave the way. for the nearly ₹ 15,000 crore redevelopment project to begin.

Five petitioners – and 10 petitions – had questioned the redevelopment project due to the Center’s alleged lack of transparency and objectivity in granting authorizations such as land use changes to proceed with the redevelopment of the area.

Noting that the Delhi 2021 Master Plan listed the Lutyens Bungalow Zone (or LBZ) as one of the six heritage zones of the city, INTACH founding member and prominent architect and academic AG Krishna Menon argued that Central Vista’s heritage does not it should be viewed in a fragmented way; Its heritage value lies both in its current function as the seat of power and in its role as a “massive public space”.

The remodel project, he said, “changed the meaning of the place.”

“Of course, change is important, but we have to ask ourselves what adds and improves the heritage value of a place. By demolishing buildings and emptying others, what importance are we retaining? “Menon, who was one of the five petitioners who challenged the project in the supreme court, asked. Along with petitioners Rajiv Suri and Anuj Srivastava, he claimed that the redevelopment plan would destroy the equity value of Central Vista.

Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management Ltd, which will redevelop Central Vista, has proposed converting the north and south blocks, where ministries like finance, defense and home have offices, into museums.

The redevelopment plan also proposes to demolish some buildings located on both sides of the avenue to rebuild a set of buildings where all the offices of the ministries, now spread across Delhi, will be brought together in one place.

Delhi author and historian Swapna Liddle feared that the land use change approved by the high court: the seven redevelopment plots in the area have undergone changes that fall broadly into four categories of land use: recreational , governmental, public-semi-public and residential. – would pave the way for future changes.

“So, for example, a change of land use from recreational to government means that the public loses it forever,” Liddle said.

HCP Director Bimal Patel said the plan would not alter the heritage buildings.

“The proposed master plan respects the existing layout and aims to strengthen it. All the works planned in the Central View are designed to respect the heritage buildings, the spaces and their character. The notified heritage buildings that are being treated as part of this plan will be reconditioned in accordance with current regulations in all respects, ”said Patel.

(With input from Risha Chitlangia)

Hindustan Times