Chandigarh to bid for UNESCO Heritage Status

UNESCO Heritage status for buildings designed by French architect Le Corbusier in Chandigarh would be pursued as part of transnational dossier along with five other countries. With the deadline for submitting the dossier for the year 2014 already having been missed, the Administration would now pursue the case for 2015.

UT Adviser KK Sharma and Chief Architect Sumit Kaur attended a meeting of representatives of different countries held at Paris recently. The Administration would now be approaching the Union Ministry of Cultural Affairs to hold a meeting in Delhi so that the other concerned ministries could be consulted about the issue.

Five countries —France, Switzerland, Belgium, Argentina and Japan— have already prepared a dossier on the works of Corbusier. It is now proposed that Chandigarh could be made a part of this dossier. The Capitol Complex comprising of the Secretariat, HC and Assembly as well as the Le Corbusier Centre and the Leisure Valley would be considered for inclusion in the dossier for getting heritage status.

Sharma said, "The most renowned buildings designed by Le Corbusier are in Chandigarh. Inclusion of the same in the dossier would also make the case of the other countries stronger. We would soon be holding a meeting in Delhi and take on board all stakeholders. Getting UNESCO status for the buildings would attract more tourists and give a boost to tourism in Chandigarh."

Over the years several violations have crept into the buildings in the Capitol. Changes have been made in the interiors. Sharma said that when the case of Chandigarh is pursued it would be argued that since the buildings are in use, there is a need for changes to be made to keep these usable. This should work in Chandigarh's favour as not many buildings designed by Corbusier are being used.

Consent from the governments of Punjab and Haryana have already been sought. The buildings in question are occupied by the two states. The UT Administration had in the year 2006 taken up Chandigarh's case for being given heritage status. However, the consent from the Ministry was not received. From then onwards, Chandigarh has not been able to pursue its case. Even for making a bid for 2015, the dossier has to be submitted by July next .

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