“Bunched up wires, encroachment, lack of proper sanitation, traffic and waterlogging…what use is turning our homes into heritage properties if basic issues in Old Delhi can’t be fixed?” asked a haveli owner during a workshop titled ‘Conservation of Heritage Buildings in Shahjahanabad’, held at Chandni Chowk’s Town Hall Saturday.
The workshop was organised by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and hosted by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to bring stakeholders face to face.
Even as North DMC Mayor Adesh Gupta said, “It’s our moral responsibility to protect heritage buildings,” a few haveli owners expressed how “it’s unfair to list our homes as heritage properties without consulting us”.
Priyaleen Singh, professor of architectural conservation at School of Planning and Architecture, attempted to bust myths around heritage. “Red Fort is a heritage structure, so is your haveli, the doorway, the aangan… It’s an asset not a burden, and cities without a past are cities without memories,” said Singh.
The suggestion of the re-emergence of the heritage cell received most support from haveli owners and other agencies on stage. Haveli owner Ashok Goel said, “We need a cell in the MCD that can listen to our grievances and solve our confusion”, while another owner said, “The MCD won’t even let me put tiles on the floors of my house without a range of permissions… it has to be simpler than this. After all, it’s my house and my money.” At the seminar, the panelists released a manual for homeowners, called Conservation of Heritage Buildings in Shahjahanabad.