The Heritage Conservation Committee on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it had on February 2 rejected the recommendation against demolition of buildings in Pragati Maidan, including Hall of Nations and Nehru Pavilion.
The Heritage Conservation Committee informed Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva that the recommendation in favour of the structures was made by a sub-committee, formed to consider whether these structures should be preserved under the category of “modern heritage”.
Advocate Saket Sikri, appearing for the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), said the sub-committee had gone beyond the criterion for any structure to be called heritage. He added that a “heritage” building should be at least two generations or 60 years old.
Hall of Nations, India’s first pillar-less building, was inaugurated in 1972. The ITPO had proposed the demolition of these structures for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan as a world-class exhibition centre.
The court was hearing a 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”.
“They [the Heritage Conservation Committee] are the decision-making authority. They have rejected the recommendation. What is left?” Justice Sachdeva said to the INTACH counsel.
On a request that the counsel be given some time to study the Heritage Conservation Committee’s decision, the court kept the matter pending.
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.
A Division Bench had recently rejected a plea against the in-principal approval granted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to foreign architects for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan.