By Sandeep Datta
New Delhi, July 3 : Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a nationwide non-profit organization founded to protect the common national heritage, concluded a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Delhi Government's tourism department today.
The memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Secretary (Tourism), Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage INTACH.
"The MoU is a very significant step in the beginning of a partnership with the Delhi Government in the field of heritage. The first step is that we will be working towards the long term plan for getting Delhi declared as the World Heritage City," said S.K.Misra, Chairman of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.
He elaborated that the process involves a lot of exercise in various areas like Research. And, when it finally reaches the UNESCO to decide, it is to be shown what is being done.
"On the ground, we have this project for getting the areas from Humanyun's Tomb to Red Fort and area from Nizamuddin to Safdarjung and Qutub Minar all around to develop it as Heritage Tourism Circuit where it is properly designed in an integrated manner i.e the signages, furniture, billboard, small restaurants and also heritage buses. Presently, Delhi is not seen as a heritage city but as a taking off point for other cities," Misra said.
INTACH has been privileged to be offered to sign a MoU with Prince Charles by mid-July in London to work on certain projects to be carried out in India.
"Yes, Prince Charles has invited me to London. He wants to collaborate with INTACH on certain projects in India, where he will try to arrange for funds from the corporate and others. They have seen what INTACH has done and capable of. And, they feel that it will be beneficial for both the sides to join hands. So I'm going to sign MoU with Charles when I will be there during July 14 to 17. I will be having meeting with him and visiting various institutes run by him," Misra informed.
The Government and the INTACH have abided by in principle to protect, conserve, and promote the cherished architectural, environmental and living (social and cultural) heritage resources of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The Government intends to make Delhi a "World Heritage City" by undertaking conservation oriented development projects and other related strategies which would lead to the encryption of Delhi as a World Heritage City by UNESCO, an objective of the Government that is also being diligently pursued by INTACH through several conservation projects undertaken for the Government during the last decade and more.
The INTACH and the Government have agreed to work in cooperation with each other in the pursuit of the aforesaid objectives.
The government will monitor activities to be undertaken by INTACH and provide required support where necessary.
Where INTACH is to provide expertise and consultancy to the Government for meeting the objectives of grooming Delhi as a "World Heritage City", for a period of five years.
According to Professor A. G. Krishna Menon, Convenor of the INTACH Delhi chapter, making Delhi city a Heritage city is a established protocol of UNESCO.
"We have to make an application and show decisions what is the reason we want to make a World Heritage City. But significance to make a city a world heritage has to be defined and we will be defining that," Prof. Menon said.
"Instead of saying there are certain monuments here or there in the city, we have to show how it is important for us. That's why this development of heritage route is an important element. By connecting certain monuments by designing a road from Red Fort to Humanyun's Tomb and Safdarjung to Qutab Minar, we want to make people to recognize that they are going around a heritage area," he said.
The INTACH, which was founded by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984, is contributing to that endeavour by working to protect the common national heritage.
INTACH has been organized into 140 Chapters nation-wide with members who have over the years responded to threats to their local heritage in dramatic, imaginative and committed ways.
It addresses issues of local importance and alert their members to local conservation needs.