PUDUCHERRY: The Government of Puducherry has reconstituted the state-level Heritage Conservation and Advisory Committee (SLHAC) in an effort aimed at protection and conservation of heritage buildings in the Union Territory (UT). The committee will be headed by the Secretary to Government (Town Planning).
The newly formed committee comprise of Chief Engineer of PWD, Superintending Engineer of Local Administration Department, Director of Tourism, Art and Culture, Conservation Assistant, Archaeological department, Dr S Kothandaraman, Professor, Pondicherry Engineering College, Raphael Gastbois, a French Architect-cum-Urban Planner, and the Chief Town Planner, Town and Country Planning Department.
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) has prepared a detailed list of all heritage buildings and a copy has been submitted to the government. The committee would have statutory powers to notify heritage buildings and precincts. It now needs to finalise the list of heritage buildings and the heritage precincts as proposed under the heritage regulation.
Ashok Panda, Co-convener of Intach said, “Now, the government has to expedite the process of listing heritage buildings in the UT. A two-stage process could be taken up by listing government and institutional buildings in the first phase followed by private buildings.”
Panda added that once the heritage buildings are notified, they cannot be demolished or modified without the approval of the newly formed Heritage Conservation Committee. This will enable the Intach along with the Puducherry government to preserve many heritage buildings in Tamil and French part of the Boulevard.
Earlier, Intach carrid out a study in 1995 which declared that there are 1,807 heritage structures in the boulevard. And, in 2005, the numbers fell to 1,173.
However, a few more buildings were added to the list in 2008 taking the total to 1,184 heritage structures. In 2010, post changing the listing classification as per the recommendations of the Ministry of Urban Development, the number was pruned to 980 buildings. These have been further classified as heritage buildings in Grade-IA, Grade-II A, Grade-II B, and Grade-III as per their order of importance.