GHMC to offer financial assistance to listed heritage buildings owned by individuals for renovation
The GHMC is caught in a bind. Should it extend the property tax waiver proposed for privately-owned heritage buildings to big palaces like Chowmahalla and Falaknuma, too? Opinion is divided. But, officials at the Corporation’s heritage wing are not in favour of offering any concession to the Nizam palaces since they are now making huge money.
The civic body has resolved to offer financial assistance to listed heritage buildings owned by individuals for renovation. It is proposed to provide 20 per cent of the estimated cost of repair or Rs. 25 lakh, whichever is less. Besides, 75 per cent of the property tax is also to be waived off as an additional incentive. The GHMC general body has already passed a resolution to this effect on April 18. But, it is yet to be forwarded to the government for approval.
Meanwhile, the heritage cell is having second thoughts on extending the tax benefits to the Nizam’s palaces. It gets property tax worth Rs. 7 lakh from Chowmahalla and Rs. 36 lakh from Falaknuma. It does not want to lose this revenue.
There is another view that they should be provided only 20 per cent tax exemption. “A decision will be taken shortly,” says K. Srinivas Rao, Additional Director, Heritage, GHMC. There are 167 listed heritage buildings in the city, and of this 75 are privately owned, 24 under the GHMC, 14 under the government and the rest belonging to the Wakf Board, Endowment, Trusts and the Nizam. While heritage structures managed by institutions are being cared for, it is private buildings that cry for attention.
According to Regulation-13 of the Hyderabad Urban Area Zoning Regulation Act of 1981, restoration of heritage areas cannot be done without the written permission of the HMDA in consultation with the Heritage Conservation Committee.
Most private owners want old structures to be demolished for real estate purposes. In the absence of a Heritage Conservation Committee, the GHMC is under constant pressure from owners to de-list heritage structures.