The proposed Lucknow Metro Rail Project faces a grave problem, literally.
A cartoon on the Lucknow Metro Rail Project. By Abhimanyu
Two nondescript British cemeteries in the state capital, listed as protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), are coming in the way of finalising the path of the tracks.
"We are unable to take a call on deciding the alignment because the graves of some unknown foreigners (British soldiers) killed in the freedom struggle of 1857 are in close vicinity," an official on the panel for the metro project formed by CM Akhilesh Yadav said on Sunday.
"You cannot see the graves from outside. They are tucked away in a corner inside a crumbling structure."
The ASI has declined to provide no objection certificate for metro tracks near the cemeteries in commercial hubs Kaiserbagh and Aminabad.
Lucknow has 18 such cemeteries and many of the graves are unmarked, without epitaphs.
"I have to discharge my duties within the framework of law," said PK Mishra, the superintending archaeologist of ASI's Lucknow circle.
The ASI does have a provision for de-notifying sites and structures that have lost historical relevance or can no longer be preserved due to fund crunch.