GHMC commissioner MT Krishna Babu has announced that Musi River would be purified and developed on the lines of Sabarmati River. Around Rs.520 crores will be spent on this project to be undertaken as part of the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), he added. He further informed that the civic body was mulling over exempting heritage structures from property tax net. As part of the Inclusive Heritage- based City Development Strategy (IHCDS), an initiative of the World Bank, a one-day workshop was held at Jubilee Hall on Monday. All the concerned stakeholders from the city took part in the programme, which was moderated by the project team of IHCDS comprising officials from the World Bank, Cities Alliance and CEPT (Centre for Environment Planning and technology) University, Ahmedabad.
Speaking on the occasion, the Commissioner stated that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) would be prepared on the outcome of the workshop, which then would be sent to Government of India for getting funds for the development of heritage structures. He informed that Hyderabad was one amongst the three cities including Ajmer-Pushkar, Varanasi selected for this heritage programme. The civic body’s role would be that of renovation, remodelling of these heritage structures besides demolishing encroachments in the premises of heritage structures, Krishna Babu added. Pointing out that urbanization was putting a lot of pressure on heritage structures, he appealed to the people staying around the historical monuments to own up that area. The Commissioner observed that the public representatives should also be made stakeholders for the development of heritage structures.
MT Krishna Babu informed that GHMC was taking all steps to protect tanks/lakes, nalas and also decided for providing chain mesh to 60- 70 lakes. GHMC is working on fixing of boundaries for lakes with an estimated cost of Rs. 1.25 crores, he said. Stefania Abakerli, representative of World Bank pointed out that India has 5000 years of rich history. However, rapid urbanization is resulting in neglect of heritage, she lamented India, which is in early urbanization stage should learn lessons from the developed countries and not repeat the same mistakes. The objective of Inclusive Heritage based City Development Strategy (IHCDS) is to citizens as stakeholders to protect heritage structures of their areas, Stefania added.
The World Bank representative opined that there was every need to strengthen the heritage cell of GHMC to monitor coordination issues between various Government departments. She has suggested the stakeholders to come up with a proposal in 6 months time for the protection of heritage of the city. Ajay D Suri, Regional Advisor, South Asia Cities Alliance, Delhi, Dr. CN Ray, Urban Specialist, Professor Saswat Bandopadhyay, Project Coordinator and Professor, Faculty of Planning, CEPT University, K Dhananjay Reddy, Additional Commissioner (Planning) and senior officers from HMDA, GHMC, Tourism, HMWS&SB, Archelogical Survey of India, heritage NGOs attended the workshop.