Haveli Dharampura, Delhi has been honoured by UNESCO for cultural heritage conservation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Property restorer Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India insisted that government should encourage such initiatives, so that more such properties can come up around the country. “I am very happy as the restorer as well as the President of Heritage India Foundation that the 200-year-old Haveli Dharampura in Chandni Chowk, near Jama Masjid has been honoured by UNESCO. With this, our hard work of six years has reaped fruit. This is the first heritage building in Delhi, which has been honoured with this recognition and I believe that after getting this award, more people would come forward with such projects and more such heritage properties would be restored,” he asserted.
Talking about the hardships they faced while conserving the Haveli, Goel said, “Haveli Dharampura has got this international recognition because we have restored it in the authentic way and it has been conserved the same way it was constructed in older times. After restoring this Haveli, I think Heritage India Foundation will try and encourage everyone who wants to restore their heritage properties in the same way.”
However, he said that despite so many heritage properties in Delhi, not much is being done by the authorities to take care of them. “If the central government, state government, Shahjahanabad Development Board and MCD come together to save these monuments, they can be restored in the right manner. Chandni Chowk should be declared as a world heritage city, and the deterioration of this part of Delhi at the hands of greedy builders needs to stop. There is a dire need to stop the illegal construction here so that heritage havelis can be saved. Shahjahanabad Development Board has passed many resolutions for the conservation of these havelis, like waiver in stamp duty, VAT, GST, property tax, circle rate, etc., but the impact of the same is not visible as yet,” suggested Goel.
He believes that those who conserve such properties should be given an incentive. “A lot of money is spent in such an initiative, and hence it requires the help of the government. The government should take such initiatives seriously and help people to restore their old buildings. The number of such properties is decreasing. There should be a big plan in reviving these structures and central government should take it in the HRIDAY scheme,” he said.