The conservation of Nila Gumbad, probably one of the oldest Mughal-era structures in Delhi, has been caught in a tug of war between the railways and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
A trust that is restoring the structure, located next to Humayun’s Tomb Complex, has accused the railways of halting the work by stacking safety and maintenance materials.
There is a tripartite agreement between the trust, the ASI and the railways to develop Nila Gumbad’s environs.
The ASI owns Nila Gumbad, while the railways owns the land adjoining the nearby railway tracks and uses it to store construction material.
The railways, however, has denied any wrongdoing.
“The nearby Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station has a big yard. We need to keep maintenance and safety-related material near the yard. The ASI was supposed to provide an alternative storage area but that has not happened,” the railways said in an e-mail to this correspondent.
“We gave land adjoining Nila Gumbad to ASI purely on a temporary basis. ASI was not permitted to build a boundary wall but it has done so. Divisional railway manager (Delhi) Anurag Sachan has asked the ASI to demolish the wall,” the response said.
Delhi circle chief of ASI Vasant Swarnkar told Hindustan Times, “I will inspect the site on Friday and find out about the concrete wall being referred to by the railways. ASI will take appropriate action. As for stacking, we will soon provide the railways with an alternative plot.”
The ASI has been asking the railways to also relocate the road between the two structures so that both can be integrated for the benefit of tourists.
“All the three parties - trust, ASI and railways - will have to go by the agreement,” Swarnkar said.
Nila Gumbad is named after the turquoise blue tiles used to cover the dome and is known for its Persian influence on its tilework.
Vibrations of trains running on the adjacent railway tracks have caused the tiles on the monument to fall off.
Efforts are on to ensure that such vibrations are either absorbed or repelled.