The ambitious project of illuminating centrally-protected heritage monuments in the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2010 has met with a sad end.
Two years after the Games, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is facing more problems than benefits from the illumination of monuments. Theft of equipment, damage to the delicate and expensive lights and broken glass encasement or wirings are a few of the problems that have left most monuments in the dark.
The ministry of tourism had sanctioned Rs 23.75 crore to India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to illuminate 13 ASI monuments but the latter has washed its hands of the responsibility now.
"We have done our job and handed it over to the ASI. We have no role now," ITDC's Lalit Panwar said.
Thanks to the power-guzzling lights, the illumination of monuments also incurred huge electricity bills. The cash-strapped ASI opted to shut down most illuminations, except at the three world heritage sites and those on important roads.
DN Dimri, ASI's Delhi circle chief, said, "I have asked the officials concerned to calculate the average running cost of the illuminations so as to make a provision in the next budget."
For the damages, the ASI has identified two monuments -Purana Qila and Safdarjung Tomb. At the Safdarjung Tomb, most electrical fixtures have been damaged. The focus lights have been overturned and at a few places, the stream of lights lining the pathways in the lawn has been damaged.
"We will prepare an inventory on the existing functional infrastructure available and damaged equipment/fixtures," he said.