Heritage buildings, it’s often said, are like detective stories giving us cues to the past. These precious time capsules are our link to history.
Nine years ago, Transferable Development Rights (TDR) for heritage buildings was introduced to preserve listed world heritage properties.
Ever since the policy has been implemented, only 57 of the 2,236 listed world heritage properties have been restored, an abysmal rate of 2.5%, claims a national daily.
The report outlined that heritage homeowners do not have consultants to help them with restoration work. Even those with the expertise to do the job charge exorbitant fees that discourage the homeowners.
However, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is making a concerted effort to restore these sites.
An AMC official told the daily, “The AMC has already invited applications from engineers interested in joining a soon-to-be-formed committee of experts. The applications will be reviewed, and a panel will be formed shortly.”
The official added, “A team of AMC officials suggested that a panel of conservation experts will ensure a steady pace of restoration work, and this will bring down the costs.”
The report recalls that Ahmedabad earned the Unesco World Heritage City tag, in 2001. Back then, the AMC collaborated with a French embassy to grade 12,502 heritage properties. In 2014, an expert committee listed 2,701 houses for review. Further, the report adds, that the town planning committee identified 2,236 houses as heritage buildings in 2015 after resolving 18 objections.
The status of 12 houses remains unclear.
The AMC introduced the TDR scheme for such structures in the General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) in 2014. The scheme allows owners of heritage buildings to apply for a TDR certificate, an award specifying the builtup area (BUA), which they can sell to get funding to maintain the structure.
The number of TDR certificates issued is on the lower side, the report highlights. So much so that in 2015, only one certificate was issued, six in 2018 and one again in 2019. The numbers rose to 10 each in 2020 and 2021.
The year 2022 witnessed a higher number of certificates at 24. Overall, in the past eight years, only 57 such certificates have been issued.