Lodhi Garden’s jewels face red tape jeopardy
In one of Delhi's favourite spot for morning walkers, Lodhi Garden, which also happens to be a repository of some fantastic Mughal architecture, several monuments are waiting for the restoration work to begin.delhi Updated: Apr 29, 2010 00:52 IST
Most Delhiites swear by their city’s unmatched historic heritage. But its upkeep is something that draws the concern of very few.
In one of Delhi's favourite spot for morning walkers, Lodhi Garden, which also happens to be a repository of some fantastic Mughal architecture, several monuments are waiting for the restoration work to begin.
Five monuments, most of which date to the 1400s and were built during the LodHi period, were to be restored by the Delhi chapter of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) by March 2010.
March has gone, but the work that stopped in January shows no signs of starting soon.
The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) under the National Culture Fund (NCF) is funding the project. NCF is a trust that coordinates between private companies and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to fund heritage conservation projects.
“The first phase of the project was completed in December 2009. Since then no further work has been conducted due to non-availability of funds," said A.G.K Menon, convener of INTACH's Delhi chapter.
Only the Tomb of Mohammed Shah (the oldest of the five monuments, it was built in 1443) has been restored so far. Work on Bara Gumbad, Tomb of Sikander Lodi, Sheesh Gumbad and Athpula has been stalled.
SAIL transferred the fund to NCF's account in March.
The NCF has said the fund cannot be released till the utilisation certificate (a document giving details of the expenditure incurred) for the first phase is submitted by INTACH.
"We have to follow a certain procedure and cannot release money till the utilisation certificate is submitted," said S.S. Malkani, NCF manager, finance and accounts.
INTACH officials claim they were not asked to submit any certificate till last week. "We are in regular touch with the NCF for the last three months, requesting them to release the money. They asked us to produce a utilisation certificate just last week," said an INTACH official.
"We have already sent NCF the documents through email and will submit the hard copy shortly," he added.
A new deadline for completion has not been set as of now.
Menon confirmed, "We will start work as soon as we get the money. We now have our hands full but will try to complete the work before the Games."
Earlier, the project was held-up as public signage regarding the implementation of the project were not installed at the designated site as per the terms of the MoU between ASI, SAIL and NCF. According to INTACH, the design of the signboard was sent to ASI for approval in March last year but got okayed in December. The sign was put up in January this year.