New Delhi: Delhi is a step closer to earning the prestigious tag of a World Heritage City, as the Ministry of Culture has sent a full-fledged dossier to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in January on the matter.
UNESCO officials will visit the national capital around September to examine the city's heritage sites, and the Ministry of Culture will have to explain why each site is of unique outstanding value.
Mrs. Arvind Manjul, a World Heritage official from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told ANI, "The entire process takes approximately two years and the final nomination has already been filed by Delhi Tourism with a heritage conservation NGO Indian Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) titled, "The Imperial Capital Cities of Delhi". The final call will be taken by the World Heritage Committee when its officials visit Delhi in September or October."
Delhi's dossier focuses on two areas listed in the nomination i.e. Old Delhi's Shahjahanabad area which served as the capital of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan from 1638 to 1648 and the British Colonial capital planned by architect Edwin Lutyens.
Abhinav Sharma of the Delhi Chapter of INTACH asserted, "This project is for Delhi Tourism, and if Delhi is announced as a World Heritage City, the tourism sector will gain the maximum benefit, and the footfall will increase automatically. The permanent heritage tag will be an exception in the country."
Vikramjit Rooprai, a heritage lover and founder of the NGO Youth for Heritage Foundation, said, "Delhi, which has a 5000-year-old history, deserves the status of a World Heritage City. The capital is home to 1300 monuments out of which only some of them are patented."
"The status will help to create awareness among people and the government bodies so that monuments are not further neglected", added Rooprai.
The detailed documentation for the nomination was prepared by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation Ltd (DTTDC) in cooperation with heritage conservation NGO Indian Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
India's nominations have been rejected in the past because the presentations were not comprehensive.
Apart from Delhi, Mumbai is also in the race for this prominent tag. However, the capital may have a good chance of grabbing the title after UNESCO declares the result in June 2015.