About 60-odd people, all poor workers, have erected a few shanties along the massive fort wall in the green area adjoining the Purana Qila lake.
With bright orange, yellow and blue plastics, the shanties disturb the visual presentation of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monument.
Engaged by an ASI contractor, these people have tapped electricity from a nearby power line and draw water from an old well on the premises.
But most importantly, in the absence of gas cylinders, they cut trees from the surroundings to cook food on indigenous ‘chulhas’.
“The contractor, who brought us here for work, gave us this place to stay. The place is not hygienic but we have no choice,” said a female labourer, who did not reveal her name, fearing action from officials. All of them, she said, had come from Bihar.
The ASI’s horticultural department had engaged these workers for a particular job. Sources said, “With survival being an issue in a city like Delhi, these people can hardly afford to stay afar from the place of work.”
HT pointed to the presence of shanties right next to a protected monument on Monday morning.
Basant Kumar Swarnakar, ASI’s Delhi circle chief, said, “During rains, these labourers were provided temporary shelter.”
“But they have been shifted away from the premises,” he claimed.