The India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) has proposed to demolish Pragati Maidan to set up a world-class exhibition centre.

Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the authorities not to demolish buildings at Pragati Maidan till the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) decided whether these structures are to be preserved under the category of ‘modern heritage’.

“HCC is meeting on February 2. Let it decide whether buildings at Pragati Maidan are to be put in the heritage list or not. If it finds that the buildings there cannot be declared heritage, then it’s end of the matter. The petition seeking its protection will be decided on merits,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said.

The court said the HCC at its meeting is likely to take up lists for consideration of buildings to be put under ‘modern heritage’ category, “so we should wait for outcome of the committee.” It fixed the matter for hearing on February 6.

HCC is a committee set up for protection of heritage buildings, precincts and natural features in Delhi.

The court was hearing a plea by the 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.

INTACH, in its plea, has alleged “complete abdication” of responsibility by HCC and Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) to protect the city’s “contemporary architectural heritage”.

HCC in turn told the court that the list of 62 buildings, which includes India International Centre, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Lotus Temple (Bahai House of Worship) and Sri Ram Centre for Performing Arts and Crafts Museum, has no sanctity.

INTACH opposed the contention, saying it was called by HCC to give a list of buildings falling under the ‘modern heritage’ category and that is why it given the list of 62.

ITPO had urged the court not to interfere with the proposed demolition, saying the Rs 2500-crore project would be a good development for the city. Batting for demolition of the buildings in Pragati Maidan, it submitted that the project was approved at the highest levels, including the PMO.

It had said under the project, an international exhibition and convention centre with a seating capacity of 7000 and parking for 4800-5000 cars would be built in the 123 acres where Pragati Maidan exists and once it comes up the G20 Summit would be held there.