Days after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India rapped the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for 15 monuments/ sites under Delhi circle that had been classified as “missing”, ASI officials have claimed that they have traced eight of them.
The physical verification during the CAG performance audit had shown 15 missing monuments/sites as against 12 communicated to Parliament since 2006, the report said.
Across India, CAG had claimed that 92 monuments/ sites were missing from the 1,655 it had inspected.
CAG had also criticised the ASI for not “maintaining reliable database of protected monuments”.
For Delhi circle, it had pointed out a discrepancy of 25 monuments as it found only 149 monuments as per circle/sub-circle records as against 174 monuments/sites as per the ASI.
Delhi circle officials have now claimed that these are not exactly missing monuments.
“There were dual notifications for some monuments, some such as Jogabai Mound are heavily encroached upon and hence not visible,” said Vasant Swarnakar, ASI’s Delhi circle chief.
‘Joga Bai mound’ is now buried deep inside colonies such as Batla House, Zakir Nagar, Joga Bai and Mehboob Nagar.
“The ASI has carried out a survey using the total station method and the revenue authorities too have confirmed the location. But the mound is badly encroached upon,” he said.
For instance, ‘ Hauz- eShamsi’ in Mehrauli has been notified also as ‘Shamsi Talab’. The 1928 Government of India listing mentions ‘Moti Gate of Sher Shah’, which is actually ‘Sher Shah Gate’, again a case of dual notification.
‘Statue of General Nicholson’ was gifted away by the Centre in the 1960s to Ireland but has not been de-notified even now. ‘Sat Narain Bhawan’ figured in the 1974 list but the high court had quashed the notification. Three monuments/sites that are actually missing are ‘Pul Chaddar’ — which government records claim was demolished during Delhi-Rohtak road modernisation — and two seize batteries once located inside Qudsia Garden.
“The updated list has been sent to the headquarter and we will initiate a process for delisting of these monuments,” Swarnakar said.
If these monuments/sites are de-listed, it would mean the number of Delhi’s ASI protected monuments would come down from 174 to 166.
The number can further go down if the ASI is able to able to confirm/verify the status of remaining seven monuments/ sites and delist them too.