Thursday, December 2

Push for incentive to save Kolkata’s built heritage

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Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the chief advisor to the chief minister, and Heritage Commission chairman Suvaprasanna, on Tuesday argued for heritage-TDR (transfer of development rights) to save city’s built heritage. TDR will enable the heritage property owner to monetise value of the building without demolishing it for real estate development.

Bandyopadhyay, who was speaking at a symposium on conservation of the city’s built heritage at Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI), said, “If the draft heritage-TDR can be formulated consensually among all stakeholders, including property owner, developers, heritage activists, architects, town planner, historians and legal experts, the government can process legislation of the draft after vetting it.”

Suvaprasanna sought greater public awareness to convince the heritage property owners to accept TDR. He highlighted the challenges with TDR, while underlining its significance.

Earlier, Heritage Commission member and conservation architect Partha Ranjan Das explained, “Once it becomes a law, the civic body will issue the heritage property owner TDR right in the form of extra FAR (floor area ratio), calculated on the basis of floor area the heritage property owner could get by demolishing and redeveloping it.”
Land owners of heritage properties will be allowed to sell their unutilized FAR to others at a mutually acceptable rate with prior permission from local urban, municipal or panchayat authority. The FAR purchased by the developer can be utilised for extra floors in his new constructions.

“This has been an accepted norm internationally to incentivise the heritage property owner, who does not need to sell his property,” said Munish Jhajharia, chairman, Council on Infrastructure & Real Estate, MCCI.

Mukul Agarwal, founder trustee, Calcutta Heritage Collective hoped to bring forth a collaborative effort of all stakeholders-owners, developers, planners and the government to ensure that the TDR draft can be brought to fruition.

“It is not a difficult task to identify and list the built heritage of roughly 1,500 years since the Pala age. The gradation is important to ascertain the historical, architectural, social significance and value of the property which can be monetised by the property owner,” said Bandyopadhyay.

Source: Times of India

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