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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Residents join hands to save Mehrauli park

Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 08, 2013
First Published: 01:59 IST(8/4/2013) | Last Updated: 02:01 IST(8/4/2013)

A group of Delhiites came together to highlight the poor condition of the Mehrauli Archaelogical Park on Sunday. They also held a ‘Save the Park’ protest in front of the municipal garbage dump adjacent to Qutub Green Apartments in Mehrauli.

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The archaeological Park is plagued by encroachment, construction debris and garbage, and of course the apathy of the authorities concerned.

The group sat on a protest wearing masks, braving the filth and stench for nearly two hours. One noticed a determined Abhishek Tyagi, a Class IX student of Gyan Bharti School in Saket, sitting among much older people. “Development is taking place across the country, but when will it arrive here? Some people might think this movement is a joke, but I know they will come around and may be even join us the next time,” the 13-year-old said.

A walk down inside the world heritage site, that Mehrauli Archaelogical Park is, revealed a grim picture. The 500-acre space was supposed to be home to ruins amid the lap of nature.

Instead, one saw a ruin being used as a public toilet. Fresh constructions were on at least at three sites, one of them for a madarsa. A huge mountain of construction debris lay on one side, unnoticed by anyone except those who will further dump more debris on it later.

“When we complained to the DDA, it told us that it was big a place to be looked after. Why can’t they allow us to take care of it, if they are not competent enough?” said Padmesh Singh, an area resident. She also said the park becomes a haven for drug addicts at night.

Fresh construction was also on at the Kadimi Kabaristan site. Local imam Haroon Rashid maintained that the Archaeological Survey of India had no jurisdiction over the madarsa and burial ground structure. “We have been here for 100 years. The Waqf board is responsible for the area. And the construction is not illegal,” he said.

Right now, the world heritage ruins of a rest house, wells and a stable sit among human waste, packets of wafers and  vibrant violent flowers.

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