A lot of hope, and money was riding on Ahmedabad to be the first World Heritage City of India. But alas, the hope continues to be a dream, and the city misses out from the status yet again. On 13th of June the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) made an official statement deferring the nomination of ‘Ahmedabad’ from the coveted list. WHC’s 41st annual session is scheduled in Krakow, Poland between July 2, 2017 to July 12, 2017. Stakeholders were expecting Ahmedabad to be rewarded the status during this meet, but the deferment came as a bolt from the blue. As per WHC’s offical note, they have informed the Indian government that Ahmedabad’s official dossier lacked crucial facets and didn’t satisfactorily demonstrte theOutstanding Universal Values of the old city of Ahmedabad characterised by the Pols and medieval structures.
Former CEPT professor Rabindra Vasavada and his team invested six years in preparing this dossier and it was approved later by Heritage Conservation Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Heritage expert Dr Adel Farhangi Shabestari from International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) visited the city for inspecting the walled city, pols, Gujarati Mughal architecture and its other heritage aspects in September 2016.
Girish Gupta, from National Heritage Volunteers group, who is involved in managing guided Heritage walks in the city since years reacted to the news saying, “This is the third time that the dossier prepared by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is facing rejection. May be the task needs greater involvement from community and other heritage ecosystem stakeholders of Ahmeabad.” He further added that this is the time for various energies to moblise and come together and work to challenge the deferment.
Managed by a non-governmental and not-for-profit entity Organisation of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) selects cities of unique heritage and cultural value and bestows them with the WHC status. This ensures huge tourist interest followed by academic and cultural research in the region. Ahmedabad was the only nomination from India for this years selection.
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