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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Caught in red tape, city misses Unesco deadline


NEW DELHI: Delhi has missed the bus to be in the race for the prestigious world heritage city tag this year. While the culture ministry may have cleared the tentative nomination dossier for submission to Unesco, Delhi will not file its nomination as the deadline for 2012-13 has been missed.

Sources have revealed that the newly formed world heritage advisory committee has finally approved the 92-page dossier submitted by INTACH Delhi Chapter last year in July. Though the dossier clearance has not been notified officially, sources confirmed that the committee has studied the dossier thoroughly and passed it. Several months ago, the ministry of culture had laid down new norms for India's submissions regarding world heritage status to Unesco. Every nomination now has to be cleared by the newly established advisory committee that includes experts, historians, and archaeologists.

"Only after the committee approval, could the tentative nomination dossier be sent to Unesco's headquarters in Paris. We had hoped Delhi would be nominated in 2012-13 as the tentative dossier was ready much before the submission deadline. However, now that a new process for clearance is in place, we have lost out on this year's submission list and can only make the submission next year,'' said an INTACH official.

Sources said the culture ministry decided to set up the committee after a number of its applications for world heritage status like Shantiniketan, Qutub Shahi Tombs, Majuli Island were rejected by Unesco. It was then decided that a new committee was required to evaluated all future applications.

"Either the applications submitted were incomplete or the designs were inadequate or the nomination dossiers not up to the mark. Whatever be the reason, too many applications were being rejected so now the world heritage advisory committee has been established to scrutinize and evaluate all future proposals,'' said a source.

Work on the thick six-volume final nomination dossier is already under way and INTACH is focusing on more awareness campaigns to spread knowledge about Delhi's potential as a world heritage city. Last year, a number of lectures, walks, seminars were held across the city and more such events are being planned. "While it's a positive sign that a process has been initiated by the culture ministry to expedite world heritage nominations and ensure that the nomination applications are up to the mark, it should have been established much earlier. Due to the delay, Delhi has lost out on a precious year,'' said a heritage conservationist.

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