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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bid to bring in revenue: South Delhi civic body to lease out old heritage buildings to private players

Buildings that come under the jurisdiction of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation have been chosen for the project, and the first such building for which bids have been invited is the Old House Tax Building.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: July 30, 2021 7:55:41 am
As per a report, the MCD said that due to a paucity of funds, it is unable to restore and maintain these structures. (Express)

Several old heritage buildings in South Delhi can now be leased out to private players to start restaurants, retail shopping centres, commercial offices, banks, ATMs, and guest houses.

Buildings that come under the jurisdiction of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation have been chosen for the project, and the first such building for which bids have been invited is the Old House Tax Building. The corporation passed the proposal inviting bids for the building in Mehrauli, which is spread over an area of 282 square metres.

This will be a pilot project, after which bids for other buildings can also be invited.

South MCD standing committee chairperson BK Oberoi said there are 114 heritage buildings and 16 ‘enemy properties’ left behind by Pakistan nationals that fall under the SDMC’s jurisdiction.

“On pilot basis, bids will be invited for the 282 square metres House Tax Building in Mehrauli which was in use during the era of Britishers. Tax collection from Delhi to Lahore was monitored from here,” said SDMC deputy commissioner Prem Shankar Jha. It is presently being used as a store house for keeping old records.

Many of these heritage buildings are forts or old houses, which have not been properly maintained and are neglected. Some of them are from the Mughal era or before Independence. Most of them are in the area around Hauz Khas, Nizamuddin, Mehrauli and Tughlaqabad.

“In other states, where such properties have been developed, it is the government that bears the cost of revival. Here, we are not just ensuring its revival but are also going to earn from it. However, one would have to ensure that they are not altering the existing characteristics. While reviving these heritage properties, it has to be ensured that work is carried out as per the rules of the Heritage Conservation Committee, and its authenticity is maintained,” Jha said.

The report tabled in the meeting said that with the passage of time, these buildings are deteriorating and require immediate maintenance. These buildings cannot be demolished and only conserved and restored and periodically maintained. But due to paucity of funds, the MCD is not in a position to maintain these buildings.

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