TEN DAYS after it sought tax benefits for a single haveli in Old Delhi, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has changed its heritage conservation goals to all 767 heritage buildings notified by the Delhi government’s Urban Development Department.
In the first proposal — mooted by the north Delhi mayor in the standing committee on August 10 — the corporation sought exemption from conversion charges for a single property — 2293, Gali Anarwali, Dharampura — which is owned by Siddhant Goel, son of Union Youth Affairs and Sports minister Vijay Goel.
The standing committee returned the proposal, stating that tax benefits cannot be awarded to just one property. “The proposal was ‘referred back’ and the commissioner said the proposal should be redrafted to include all heritage buildings in the jurisdiction of the corporation and not just one haveli,” said sources.
The document stated, “The proposal of the above mentioned property was scrutinised in terms of clause 23.9 of the BBL 0 1983 under ‘incentive uses for heritage buildings’… it was decided to allow the use of the premises for restaurant, bar, guestrooms, handicraft shop, jewellery shop etc.”
On August 24, the corporation put forth a fresh proposal seeking exemption of conversion and parking charges for all notified heritage buildings. In a letter to Commissioner P K Gupta, mayor Sanjeev Nayyar requested him to exempt all notified heritage buildings “with a view to promote the restoration” of such buildings in the capital.
While the Congress marked its dissent to the first proposal without naming Goel, they allowed the second proposal to pass, stating that, “this is beneficial to several property owners and should not be held back owing to one individual”.
Meanwhile, Goel claimed that since the haveli was the first to be restored in the jurisdiction of the north corporation, the proposal to exempt this property was moved first. He said, “There are roughly 300 heritage buildings in the north Delhi area. Of these, 50 are residences and old havelis. Fifty per cent of these are in a dilapidated condition and restoration work has not begun. The speculation that the proposal is causing a struggling north Corporation a loss of Rs 25 crore is baseless.”
AAP also accused Goel of “misusing his position” to secure tax benefits from the BJP-run civic body. Delhi convenor Dilip Pandey demanded that a case be registered against Goel. “Till the time the probe is over, Goel should resign as a Rajya Sabha MP,” he said.