The Hall of Industries and Hall of Nations buildings at Pragati Maidan, designed by architect Raj Rewal and engineer Mahendra Raj, were demolished on Sunday night.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court had on Thursday dismissed the plea of Rewal against its demolition as part of Pragati Maidan’s redevelopment into an exhibition centre. The court relied on the decision of the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC), which held that the Hall of Nations wasn’t a heritage structure since it was less than 60-year-old. It was constructed in 1972.
While the court dismissed Rewal’s petition, a petition moved by INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) wasn’t heard and had been listed for hearing on May 1.
The building came under threat as the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation that came up with the redevelopment plan of Pragati Maidan did not want to keep the structure.
The India Trade Promotion Organisation said the demolition is to be completed by May 31, with work on redevelopment to start from June 1. It added that any interference from court would stall the project, which is set to generate employment and foreign funding.
Ever since the demolition plan was made public, associations and museums from across the world, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, had written to the government and Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman asking that the buildings be preserved because of their architectural importance. But, it all fell on deaf ears.
With Agency Inputs