Cash-strapped ASI unable to take new conservation works

  • Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Oct 09, 2012 23:25 IST

With hardly any funds to spare above last year's spending bill, the Delhi circle of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be unable to take up almost no or very few new conservation works for its monuments this financial year.

The Delhi circle looks after as many as 174 monuments, including three World Heritage Sites - Red Fort, Qutb Minar and Humayun's Tomb. Conservation of monuments is an on-going work.

In 2011-12, Delhi circle received about Rs. 5 crore for conservation works. Work orders were issued, work was commenced for various monuments last year and in most of the cases, it continued through the current financial year.

But due to paucity of funds then, payments for several works were left pending for this fiscal year.

Works that were taken up and completed this year are at the baoli (step well) at the Firozshah Kotla, main tomb at Safdarjung Tomb complex, Ashokan Inscription near the Bara Hindurao, Rajon Ki Baoli, Qudsia Mosque and Tripolia Gate apart from the continuous on-going work at the Red Fort.

Reflecting on the way planning is carried out, the financial liability from the previous year has not just spilled over to this year but would also consume the entire conservation budget. "This will hardly leave any scope for additional work," sources said.  

Confirmed DN Dimri, ASI's Delhi circle chief, said: "We have received Rs. 5.56 crore this year and the expected expenditure is Rs. 6.25 crore this year. We would ask for additional funds."  

The two works that the Delhi circle can take up if and when additional funds are received are fortification of the Sher Shah Suri gate monument that had undergone damage in monsoon and also Hauz Khas monuments, Dimri, who has taken charge at Delhi four months ago, said.

HT approached the ASI headquarters as to how can it allow such planning wherein financial liability spills over to next year and and why it cannot keep track of how funds are spent for a year.

However, the officials were not forthcoming with their side.


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