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Updated: October 30, 2013 00:16 IST

Heritage gets a shot in the arm

J. S. Ifthekhar
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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.

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It is strange to note the Heritage conservation committee is defunct and a new committe is not is place.
The Heritage affiars are being handled by two department HMDA, GHMC. Since 1996, these organisation are still framing policies, it shows their sincerity.
HCC is a committe for rehabilitaion for retired govt officials. The HCC should have a heritage building owner as member in the Committee.
The govt should be clear if they want to acquire a heritage building they can propose thru the LA act. All the TDR gimmicks were already there in place and it failed.
There is s need for infusing the heritage spirit with responsibility.

from:  satish shah
Posted on: Oct 31, 2013 at 10:59 IST
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