Centre allocates Rs 4.22 crore for revival of Walled City museum at Lahori Gate
Union youth affairs and sport minister Vijay Goel, who initiated the project around 2004, had sent a proposal to the culture ministry seeking funds for the restoration of the facility as ‘a heritage museum and interpretation of Shahjahanabad’.delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2017 09:34 IST
The Walled City museum, located in an 88-year-old haveli at Lahori Gate - Khari Baoli Chowk, which had been lying in a neglected state, will now be revived with the union culture ministry agreeing to allocate Rs 4.22 crore for the same.
Inaugurated 13 years ago, the facility had fallen prey to negligence of the civic body, thus losing sheen soon after its opening. The two-storeyed haveli has been lying locked for almost a decade.
The number of visitors dwindled over the years and encroachers returned to the site. In want of adequate maintenance, the about 1,000-yard structure has turned into a dump.
Union youth affairs and sport minister Vijay Goel, who initiated the project during his second term as a Member of Parliament from Chandni Chowk around 2004, had sent a proposal to the culture ministry seeking funds for the restoration of the facility as ‘a heritage museum and interpretation of Shahjahanabad’. The proposal was prepared by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
After examining the scheme, the ministry gave its approval in March, but the work could not be initiated as the fund was not transferred.
“The first instalment, a grant of Rs 1.69 crore, has just been released to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is the nodal agency for executing the restoration project. I expect the work to begin soon,” said Goel.
However, the minister added that he wanted a non-government agency to take up the project. “I don’t trust the municipal corporation. I want other agencies like INTACH or similar bodies to be roped in for the purpose. The project is getting delayed because of the corporation’s lackadaisical attitude,” he said.
As per the revival plan, artifacts, articles, rare photos and paintings depicting the culture and lifestyle of early residents of Shahjahanabad (during Mughal period) is slated to be exhibited. A library with a space for research scholars is part of the plan. This will be a one-stop destination, where a visitor will be able to study the composite culture of the Walled City under one roof, said Goel.
“Articles like utensils, garments and other exhibits such as hookah will be displayed. Literature pertaining to the city and the history of the place since its inception will also be provided, so that people coming to the museum can learn about it. We will also brief tourists about places to see in old Delhi and what to eat where. We basically aim to recreate the scene of yesteryears,” the minister said.
Once it is restored, cultural events are also likely to be hosted here.
The haveli was constructed in 1929. Until it was turned into a museum, a municipal dispensary was being run in its two of its rooms and the remaining part was abandoned. Goel contributed funds from his Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund to restore the building as the Walled City museum.