Governance · Public Policy

The Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana

The programme called Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (hereinafter HRIDAY), is primarily for conserving and preserving the heritage characters of certain cities. Initially the programme is launched in Mathura, Amritsar, Gaya, Kanchipuram, Vellankani and Ajmer. The project is undertaken by a partnership of Government, academic institutions and local communities. The programme will combine affordable technologies [1]

In the Budget of 2014-2015, a sum of Rs. 200 crores is set aside for this purpose. The Budget has a City-Systems evaluation Urban Planning & Design under which HRIDAY is placed. For Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) 89.31 crore rupees is kept aside. For  Amritsar  (Punjab) 69.31 crore rupees, for Warangal (Telangana) 40.54 crore rupees, for Ajmer  (Rajasthan) 40.04 crore rupees, for Gaya  (Bihar) 40.04 crore rupees, for Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) 40.04 crore rupees, for Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) 23.04 crore rupees, for Vellankini (Tamil Nadu) 22.26 crore rupees, for Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) 22.26 crore rupees, for Badami (Karnataka) 22.26 crore rupees, for Dwaraka (Gujarat) 22.26 crore rupees, for Puri (Orissa) 22.54 crore rupees is kept aside.

Due to the efforts of the Narendra Modi government and programmes like HRIDAY, in the next three years, we can expect cleaner religious complexes and heritage sites. Additionally, properly laid roads without hawkers blocking the way and well lit surroundings, at least in the named seven cities is expected. At least 85% of the total outlay will be earmarked for project formulation and execution while the remaining 15% shall be utilized for other critical components including capacity building, establishment of project management units and preparation of heritage management plan.

The Yojna has been finalized by the Urban Development Ministry. HRIDAY aims to bring together urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation besides beautification work. The beautification work would be undertaken particularly in an inclusive and integrated manner with focus on cleanliness, livelihoods, skills, safety, security, accessibility and faster service delivery. Hence, HRIDAY has been provisioned to make heritage cities economic growth engines.

The key focus area is ‘Heritage’ due to various reasons. Firstly, heritage needs to be treated as an asset. Secondly, its revitalization and beautification generates lasting benefits on communities and cities. Thirdly, India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for the development of tourism and job creation as an industry.
In the past years, redevelopment of heritage structures was taken up as isolated cases. However, a need was felt that there must be a link to heritage development within a city to the overall planned development of the locality. This would not only make the region more tourist friendly but will also improve the quality of life of locals. Not only this, the programme will combine affordable technologies. Installation of CCTV cameras and provision of Wi-Fi access areas will also be a focus area.

Under HRIDAY, each of the identified cities will have to prepare the heritage management plan. This plan will outline the heritage resources and will develop policies. The policies would be used to guide the conservation, restoration, future use and development of the named cities. Furthermore, some proposals are made to have documentation of all heritage sites, conservation of areas, more facilities for women, senior citizens and differently abled citizens. This is done besides improved connectivity and access to tourist, attractions that focus on the improvement of connectivity.

The integral task of rejuvenating such identified cities would also include tasks like developing proper parking place and hawkers zones. There will also be provision for heritage walks and digital information kiosks, pedestrianisation of tourist attraction areas and plying of more solar or battery operated vehicles. Despite these concentrated efforts, some identified cities have brought in proposals in the notice of Urban Development Ministry. For instance, Mathura has urged to get river front development, water navigation from Vrindavan to Mathura, ropeway across Yamuna and Vishram Ghat and development of Barsana and Nand Gaon.[2] Two cities from Tamil Nadu i.e. Kancheepuram and Velankanni, are already in the list of 12 cities under HRIDAY. However, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has requested that Srirangam also to be added in the identified list of heritage status.

People like educationists and associations that are working with the objective of achieving heritage town status for Kancheepuram have welcomed HRIDAY) project. Even institutions have given green signal to the Yojna and have come forward to contribute in the endeavour to preserve the heritage of Kanchi, which flourished as a seat of knowledge in the past. Commending the decision that involves academic institutions and local communities, the founder of Research Centre for Asiatic Culture, Kancheepuram (retired), P. Annadurai said that the decision is in line with UNESCO’s observation that local communities should be involved in projects aimed at preserving heritage and culture.[3]

[1] Press Information Bureau, Government of India Ministry of Tourism, August 5, 2014.

[2] Dipak K Dash, HRIDAY to revive 7 heritage cities, The Times of India, December 1, 2014.

[3] V. Venkatasubramanian, Heritage experts look forward to HRIDAY project, The Hindu (July 11, 2014).

 About the Author

IMG_1315Garima Singh is pursuing her B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from National Law School of India University, Bangalore and is currently in her third year. She is a research fellow under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA), Chair on Urban Poor and the Law, Karnataka. She has worked with several NGOs on human rights and child rights issues and has written essays and articles particularly dealing with these issues. Her work has been acknowledged and she has received awards for them too. She likes reading books and loves to paint and sing. Currently, she is interning with the Model Governance Foundation.

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