World Heritage sites, National Monuments and monuments listed by the State Archaeology Department have dedicated national and state laws for protection. The local urban heritage is protected under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966. It is this enactment that brings within its scope, if not as primary but ancillary, the protection and preservation of heritage structures in the city that may lie out of the scope of national and state level enactments.
Under the MRTP Act 1966 a Development Plan (DP) is prepared to guide the planning and indicate the manner in which any development and use of land should be carried out in the established region, such as the Pune Metropolitan Region or the Pune city. The Section 22 of the MRTP Act (1966) states that the Development Plan is to provide for the “preservation, conservation and development of areas of natural scenary and landscape”[h], “preservation of features, structures of places of historical, natural, architectural and scientific interest and educational value and of heritage buildings and heritage precincts.”[i], “proposals for flood control and prevention of river pollution.” [j]. Thus both natural and cultural heritage aspects are brought within the purview of development. The use of the word ‘landscape’ integrates the urban historical landscape approach to conservation recommended by UNESCO in its 36th Session of General Conference in 2011.
“Development”is defined in the Act as “carrying out of buildings, engineering, mining or other operations in or over or under, land or the making of any material change, in any building or land or in the use of any building or land or any material or structural change in any heritage building or its precinct and includes demolition of any existing building, structure or erection of part of such building, structure of erection and reclamation, redevelopment and lay-out and sub-division of any land and “to develop” shall be construed accordingly.”
Development control rules are the cornerstone of Development Plan. These rules include heritage byelaws. Under this Act a Heritage Committee is appointed to guide and advice the Municipal Corporation on matters related to heritage conservation, listing and development and re-development control rules for listed heritage sites. The MRTP Act offers some important definitions that are as follows:-
“Heritage building” means a building possessing architectural, aesthetic, historic or cultural values which is declared as heritage building by the Planning Authority in whose jurisdiction such building is situated.
“Heritage Precinct” means an area comprising heritage buildings and precincts thereof or related places.
“land” includes benefits to arise our of land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth.
The full text of MRTP Act 1966 ( as modified on 26th Nov 2015) is here.