The government’s Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) has submitted before the Delhi High Court that it has rejected its own sub-committee’s classification of two buildings in Pragati Maidan as heritage buildings.
The HCC made the submission as part of the minutes of the meeting that took place on February 2, which it filed before the court. On January 25, the court had asked authorities not to go ahead with demolition till the HCC decides on whether to put Pragati Maidan buildings in the heritage list or not.
The HCC informed Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva that the recommendation in favor of the structures was made by a sub-committee, formed to consider whether these structures should be preserved under the category of Heritage.Appearing for the ITPO, Advocate Saket Sikri said that the sub-committee had gone beyond the criterion for any structure to be called heritage. He further added “ A heritage building should be at least two generations or 60 years old”.
The court was hearing the plea by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) seeking protection of 62 buildings, including Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion in Pragati Maidan, which it has identified as “modern heritage”.
Stating that the Pragati Maidan redevelopment project will bring in foreign investment, the ITPO said such petitions will affect foreign investment and thus should be disposed of.
The ITPO had earlier urged the court not to interfere with the proposed demolition as the ₹2,500-crore project would be a good development for the city. ITPO has said that the project had been approved at the highest levels, including the Prime Minister’s Office.
Meanwhile a meeting was held at PMO where PM Modi directed all departments to ensure that the project is completed before 2019.
Sources said that Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha would convene a meeting of takeholders like Railways, ASI, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Public Works Department (PWD), and the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) to sort out the issues
Last month, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the ITPO’s proposal for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan.