Monday, August 3, 2009

Heritage Game Plan Crawls at Snail’s Pace

Next years commonwealth games are going to be a remarkable event in Indian history. When millions of tourists will visit India for games, we have a very strong chance to show case our rich heritage and history for which our monuments are live example. Keeping this in mind government had decided to revamp and restore all the monuments of historical importance in and around Delhi under “Heritage Game Plan”. But bad luck, some of them faced legal hurdles and some become victims of political and executive hatchbacks and like all other projects, got delayed... Let us see in coming days what happens

The days are numbered and the work is not even half done. Delhi’s caretaker of monuments, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) still has a long to go as far as restoring 46 selected heritage buildings in the city for the Commonwealth Games is concerned. Senior officials say 40% of the overall work scheduled for the Games is complete, and the rest would be completed before the Games deadline of 2010.

The Delhi government is very keen to showcase the capital’s rich heritage to tourists expected to throng the city during the Games and has made several plans to that effect. World heritage sites Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort apart, ASI officials also want to promote less frequented monuments like Tughlaqabad Fort, Purana Qila, Safdarjung Tomb, Siri Fort wall and the Hauz Khas monuments.

On the cards is complete revamp of the selected sites including painting, facade restoration, garden development and minor repairs. ‘‘Estimates have been prepared for all the sites except FerozeShah Kotla and Red Fort which are under process. Some of the conservation work has been outsourced to INTACH like the Lodi Gardens monuments while Aga Khan Trust is handling some monuments in Nizamuddin. The conservation work has been divided in two phases,’’ said an ASI official.

Tourist amenities are a major component of the projects. In some monuments, they will be constructed from scratch while sites like Qutub Minar and Purana Qila require massive up-gradation. Benches, interpretation centers, toilets, parking facilities, garden development, and audio-guide services are all parts of tourist friendly plans for monuments which are to be in place in coming months.

However, a lot of work is yet to fall into place. Parking facilities in the three world heritage sites is another area of concern. ‘‘In Red Fort, we are yet to get possession of the new parking lot from CPWD. There are already existing parking lots at Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, so we do not anticipate problems for visitors,’’ said a senior official.

Another aspect is illumination for which 13 sites have been selected. Five monuments have already been lit, including Safdarjung Tomb. The monuments that were illuminated earlier were Purana Qila, Sher Shah Gate and Masjid and Subz Burj. Next in line are Feroze Shah Kotla, Khan-e-Khana tomb, Bara Khamba, Lal Darwaaza, Chhoti Gumti, Sikri Gumti, Biran-ka-Gumbad, Dadi Poti ka Gumbad and Najaf Khan’s tomb. ASI officials said work has been divided among various agencies but uniformity is a must.

‘‘The work is being monitored by us to ensure work is on schedule. For tourist information, we are coming out with a brochure which will contain data on all 46 sites that will be available in all the monuments. A website is also under development by Delhi Tourism,’’ said a senior ASI official.

In a city which spans several dynasties, historians claim that each structure is a living testimony in itself. Bits and pieces from the Tughlaq, Lodi, Mughal dynasties and even the British rule can be seen all over the city. The Planning Commission has sanctioned a special fund of Rs 25 crore to Delhi’s ASI circle for up-liftment and conservation plans for identified structures within the city.

Delhi is home to 1,200 heritage buildings listed by INTACH Delhi Chapter out of which 173 have been listed protected by ASI. Three protected sites, Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb have been bestowed the world heritage status by UNESCO and take top priority in terms of visitor management and overall maintenance. In recent years, however, ASI has also shifted attention to smaller structures in the city many neglected and hope to develop them as popular tourist destinations in time for the Games.

Approach road to monuments are also in for a facelift. Officials claim that beautiful buildings like Tughlaqabad Fort or Zafar Mahal lose out on visitors only because of their location where there are no parking facilities, no access route and encroachment is rampant. Then there are structures which people pass everyday without seeing them.


LOVE said...

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rahul said...

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please inform me at

HEMANT said...

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