The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has embarked upon one of the most ambitious programmes undertaken in the world for Urban renaissance for rejuvenating and transforming Indian cities through a number of initiatives including infusion of more than Rs. 6,85,758 crore for ensuring citizen friendly urban areas. The transformation has been undertaken by way of implementing key urban reforms, projects for urban rejuvenation among others besidesapproving implementation of city HRIDAY plans for 12 cities.
NATIONAL HERITAGE CITY DEVELOPMENT AND AUGMENTATION YOJANA (HRIDAY)
The National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), launched on 21st January, 2015, is being implemented in 12 cities, namely, Ajmer, Amaravati, Amritsar, Badami, Dwaraka, Gaya, Kancheepuram, Mathura, Puri, Varanasi, Velankanni and Warangal.
In 2018, 20 projects amounting to Rs. 140.14 Crores have been completed in the cities of Ajmer, Amaravati, Amritsar, Badami, Dwaraka, Puri and Varanasi. Few notable projects completed in 2018 are as follows:
- In order to enhance the experience of religious tourists visiting prominent heritage sites in the HRIDAY Cities, upgradation of 59 roads leading to various heritage sites in the city of Varanasi, Ajmer, Amritsar and Amaravati have been completed. Three projects for rejuvenation of public parks and gardens in the cities of Amritsar (Gol Bagh), Ajmer (Subhash Udyan) and Puri (Banki Muhana) have been completed.
- In order to revive the local heritage in cities and create additional tourist attractions, 3 projects for development of heritage walks in Pushkar, Ajmer and Varanasi connecting important monuments, along the lanes with historical architecture have been completed. With the objective of restoring existing heritage buildings, 2 projects for Adaptive Reuse of Rambagh Gate in Amritsar and Town Hall in Varanasi have been completed. Rambagh Gate will house a museum and Town Hall is being used as a cultural center or programs.
- Many traditional water bodies in heritage cities have no water, but lot of solid waste and have primarily become garbage dump sites. Under HRIDAY, revival work of few heritage water bodies has been taken place. 1 such project for Annasagar Lakefront Development has been completed. In order to promote the tangible and intangible heritage of HRIDAY cities, IEC events designed to create awareness and intervention of government for development are being organized in each city.
Status of HRIDAY in Graphs
The projects considered under the scheme will deliver assets catering to civic infrastructure which will enhance the experience of residents and tourist with essence of heritage character of the city. Since the assets created under the scheme having direct interface with public, Sustainability is the most important success factor in achieving the goal. In addition to that, Proper operation and maintenance is essential to maximizing the environmental, social, and economic benefits of assets created, as well as ensuring that projects perform as expected.
Some Success Stories
- Restoration of Rambagh School: Rambagh gate, Municipal Printing Press and the Municipal School:The Rambagh gate is the only surviving gate of the walled city of Amritsar from the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh the famed Maharaja of Punjab.
A segment of the fortification wall houses, above it, a colonial period building which houses a 100-year-old Municipal Printing Press and a school. On the outset, the project aimed to address the structural conservation of the entire complex which was in an extremely poor condition. The project aimed to undertake the conservation and revitalization in a manner so that the cultural edifices impact the quality of lives of the users and hence reintegrates the significance of the building into the lives of the local community.
Initially all the five classes were running out of two run down rooms. The project reorganized the spaces within the building into five classrooms and provided verandahs for children for extracurricular activities.
Toilets and kitchen were upgraded. A room was provided for the teachers as well. Facilities for play were provided in the open area including games as snakes and ladders etc.
The Rambagh gate was restored to house a ‘Peoples’ Museum’ locally called the Lok Virsa thus providing a cultural space for the community which showcases the historical and cultural narrative of the city of Amritsar and its people using art installations, films and information boards and graphics.
The Municipal Printing Press and has been provided with improved building infrastructure and services for continued use as a printing press. It is important to note here that Dhani Ram Chatrik, a Punjabi poet and typographer standardized the typeset for Gurmukhi typeset too came from city of Amritsar and this Municipal Printing Press could commemorate his contribution.
- Conservation and Development of Town Hall as Heritage Centre: The Town Hall located at Maidagin was built in 1870 by the Maharaja of Vizianagram to commemorate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Varanasi. The project not only aimed to restore the grand heritage building (presently underused) but also to tap its potential to create a multipurpose Urban public space (Cultural centre) both for the citizens and tourists. In order to do so, the project components included façade restoration and lighting of Town Hall building, repaired doors and windows, plastering of wall surface and colour wash, cladding of stage with granite stone, installation of acoustics, air conditioning and chairs. The project was completed in August, 2018. Since then, it has been used for several cultural activities such as HRIDAY Art Camp, Yoga Program etc.The completion of this project has revived the historically significant Town Hall building and provided the citizens of Varanasi with an additional location for socio-cultural activities.
- Development of Subhash Udhyan at Ajmer:Subash Udhyan was built on a land where Jahangir had erected palaces which had later disappeared. The park provides facilities to all groups of people that visit it and makes for a flexible recreational space. The scope of the project included development, illumination of park and creation of facilities like jogging track, cycle track, boating pond, cafes etc. The project was completed in September, 2018 and has rejuvenated the moods of local people who now use the park as a social hub.
- Development of landscape garden by using treated water from waste water treatment plant at bankimuhan: The Puri Beach in Odisha has continued to be a sacred venue for endless number of pilgrims coming to pay homage to Lord Jagannath. With the annual beach festival taking place in November, the beach has developed to be a popular spot for both Indian and foreign tourists
- However, since development along the beach is only concentrated in few spots, this leads to overcrowding during peak season. Hence, with the objective of developing alternate tourist spots along the Puri Beach, this project was undertaken.
The scope of work included Construction of boundary walls, provision of Landscapes, Garden paths, creation of Amphitheatre, Garden lights, Fountain and automatic sprinklers, Plantation of saline resistant plants, furniture, drinking water stations, toilets etc. The project was completed in September, 2018. The project has helped in reducing the concentration of tourists in certain spots, improved the greenery along the beach and improved the overall environment of the area