In yet another violation of the archaeological act, a bunch of workers has been carrying out digging for a residential building right next to the boundary wall of Atgah Khan’s tomb in Nizamuddin Basti.
This, despite the provisions of an amended archaeological act, which bans any construction within 100 metres of a centrally-protected monument.
The digging work is being carried out on a 20-feet wide plot between two dilapidated houses, in a narrow lane off Nizamuddin dargah.
This stretch lies on the northern wall of the 16th century tomb.
Atgah Khan was the husband of Jiji Angah, Mughal emperor Akbar’s wet nurse. He held important positions in Akbar’s court. Though relatively small, the tomb is a stunning piece of architecture, with red sandstone walls and a number of stone jaalis.
When Hindustan Times visited the spot on Sunday, work was on full steam. The digging had exposed the boundary wall of the tomb.
A man, who did not identify himself, claimed the house had collapsed and was being rebuilt.
An amendment in the archaeological act last year has banned any construction within 100 metres — called the prohibited area — of a protected monument. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) lodged a police complaint in the matter on Sunday.
“Your active cooperation and early action in the matter is required to curb such unauthorised activities in the prohibited/regulated areas of centrally-protected monuments, which badly affects… our national and cultural heritage,” the ASI said in its complaint, of which HT has a copy.
Another agency — Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) — that is duty-bound to keep track of unauthorised construction has also not taken action in the matter yet.
“We are looking at laxity on the part of officials. If found (to be true), suitable action will be taken against them. We are (also) going to issue (a) stop work notice (in this regard),” said Deep Mathur, director (press and information), MCD.