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Is this history in the making?

Kashmere fate complex —with the gate and the city wall — that demarcated the threshold of Mughal capital of Shahjahanabad, was declared a heritage site in 2007.

delhi Updated: Jun 21, 2009 23:27 IST
Jatin Anand

It survived the British cannon balls but is falling to encroachment.

Kashmere fate complex —with the gate and the city wall — that demarcated the threshold of Mughal capital of Shahjahanabad, was declared a heritage site in 2007.

The structure, because of neglect on the part of the Archeological Survey of India, is now a crumbling structure awaiting total collapse.

A characteristic blue board on the side facing Ritz Cinema announces the special status of the Mughal-era monument.

A minute’s walk from the green, renovated and locked remains of the Kashmere Gate premises is enough to dispel the notion of a protected well-maintained monument.

The most glaring example of the neglect is a 12-feet-wide breach in the heritage wall, which is wide enough for a truck to pass.

Commuters who use the stretch often say it was crack in the wall that gradually turned into a huge gap over decades.

“Some 30 years ago, it was a small gap. It might become big enough to let a container truck pass in some more time,” said Pranav Sachdeva (21), a student of B Com (Pass) at Delhi University’s School of Correspondence, who uses the road frequently.

The passage has now become a part of the road, covered by tar with every road repair work.

On the Nicholson Road side, the wall's arcs serve as bins to burn garbage, urinals, kiosks selling refreshments and paan and as storage space by rag pickers.

There is a car park on the side of the Mori Gate bus terminus and the cars are parked so close to the wall that a little mistake in reversing can damage it.

“A little mistake while reversing the car into a slot and yet another chunk would break” said Geet Singh Bedi, a Nicholson Road resident. “Why do the authorities allow a parking lot so close to a heritage wall?”

Assuring that the ASI would take up the matter with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi after a visit to the area, Superintendent Archaeologist K.K. Muhammed said: “We will do all we can to conserve and reconstruct them.”

MCD Director (Press and Information) Deep Mathur said, “The parking in the area is authorised, but the contractor tends to occupy more space than he is entitled to.”

The MCD has charged him Rs 25,000 fine for the first offence and Rs 30,000 for the second offence.

“The process has been initiated to cancel the contract for violation of the terms and conditions,” Mathur said.

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