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All about Heritage Conservation Committee, last hurdle cleared by new Parliament building

All construction or redevelopment work in heritage sites in Delhi need the Heritage Conservation Committee's approval, which is headed by the housing ministry's additional secretary.

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New Delhi: The proposed new Parliament building has passed the last of its regulatory clearances, with the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) giving its go ahead to the project Monday. The Supreme Court had on 5 January mandated the committee’s approval to the proposed project.

No government or private agency can undertake construction or redevelopment work in any heritage buildings or precincts in the national capital, which have been notified by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), without the HCC approval.

In Delhi, there are a total of 767 heritage sites, including heritage buildings, precincts and natural feature areas that have been notified by the MCD. Another 141 sites have been notified by the NDMC.

“The project to build the new Parliament went to HCC as its coming up in the precincts where the present Parliament building, a heritage site, stands. The Central Vista project will also go to HCC once the other regulatory approval such as environment and fire safety clearances comes through,” a senior housing ministry official, who did not want to be named, told ThePrint.

The new Parliament building will come up in the same premises as the old one, and is part of the Rs 20,000-crore Central Vista redevelopment project.

The Central Vista revamp plan, one of the Modi government’s most ambitious projects to give Delhi’s power corridors a complete makeover, will also include new residences for the Prime Minister and Vice-President, and 10 new building blocks to accommodate government offices, including Shastri Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Udyog Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan and Vayu Bhavan.

Also read: Cost of proposed new Parliament building sees 18% rise — to Rs 922 cr from Rs 776 cr

What is the Heritage Conservation Committee?

The Heritage Conservation Committee was set up in 1983 in the national capital, under the Delhi Development Act (DDA), by incorporating a new clause in the Delhi Building Byelaws for the protection of heritage buildings, precincts and natural features in Delhi.

The committee is headed by the additional secretary in the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs, and Kamran Rizvi is the present chairman of the HCC.

Besides Rizvi, the committee has 13 other members including representatives from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), MCD, DDA, NDMC, Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi Urban Arts Commission and other government agencies.

The committee also has members from the School of Planning and Architecture, an associate professor of history from Hindu College, Delhi University, and the director of the National Museum.

The term of every committee is a period of three years, after which a new HCC is constituted.

Also read: New Parliament building will be a symbol of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, PM Modi says

Process for HCC approval

Under the Unified Building Bye-laws for Delhi, 2016, the NDMC, municipal corporations, DDA or any other local body involved with development work in the city has to mandatorily refer proposals for building and engineering projects to be undertaken at heritage sites to the HCC.

The respective local body has to submit the proposal online along with all the necessary documents, in the prescribed proforma that can be downloaded from the HCC website, to the committee.

Once the proposal is received, the HCC meets to appraise the project and gives its approval or sends it back to the local body if there are deficiencies.

“It’s a transparent process. Once the HCC gives its decision, the minutes of the meetings are uploaded on the HCC’s website for all to see,” said another housing ministry official.

The official said both the Centra Vista redevelopment project and the Central Vista avenue project will also go to HCC for clearance before work starts.

Every state has its own HCC, set up under their respective building byelaws for their notified heritage properties. Any construction or redevelopment work on these sites requires the committee’s assent.

Since land in Delhi is under the DDA, which is under the housing ministry, its HCC comes under the central government’s jurisdiction.

Also read: Modi’s Central Vista project has a history-shaped hole in it


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