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Delhi’s Mughal-era forest lodge restoration put on fast track

According to the initial estimate, at least 69 families live in and around the Mughal-era royal forest house. A recent spate in construction activity damaged its original architecture.

delhi Updated: Jul 11, 2018 12:57 IST
Parvez Sultan
Parvez Sultan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mughal era hunting lodge in Delhi,Jaunti village,Delhi archaeology department
Aam Khas in outer Delhi’s Jaunti village, once a hunting lodge built during Mughal emperor Shahjahan’s time, lies in dilapidated condition. (Anushree Fadnavis/ HT File )

The state archaeology department has stepped up efforts to conserve a 17th century hunting lodge built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan at Jaunti village in outer Delhi.

The department, in collaboration with the Kanjhawala sub-division magistrate (SDM) office, has started a survey to assess the damage to the structure and count the occupants who have to be relocated from the premises.

Vikas Maloo, head of the archaeology department, said the survey is on its last lap and is likely to be completed by next week.

“Soon after the assessment, a blueprint to uplift the area will be prepared with the help of experts. The survey is being jointly done by our department and SDM office. This will help to find out which part of the structure needs conservation first and how many residential units are there,” he said.

The move came after Delhi’s divisional commissioner Manisha Saxena inspected the site to draw a feasible plan to restore the 370-year-old structure in April.

Jaunti village is on the Delhi-Haryana border, about 10km from the Mundka Metro station. The nondescript heritage village was also the epicentre of Green Revolution in the 1960s.

According to the initial estimate, at least 69 families live in and around the Mughal-era royal forest house. A recent spate in construction activity damaged its original architecture.

Another senior official privy to the development said different government departments playing different roles in the restoration had been directed to undertake their work.

“The fisheries and irrigation and flood control department have been asked to clean the existing pond and explore the possibility of aqua-culture. The department will see if water bodies can be created for livestock. The Delhi Transport Corporation has been directed to introduce new routes to improve connectivity,” the official said.

The restoration of the building and development of the village was originally planned by north-west Delhi MP Udit Raj three years ago under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana .

The village shot to limelight in 1964 when it was chosen for a high-yielding seed development programme by MS Swaminathan, the father of green revolution. On September 26, 1967, then prime minister Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Jawahar Jaunti Seed Cooperative here.

“The health department will also set up a primary health centre in Jaunti. Delhi’s tourism department is also working on a plan to make the village a tourism attraction,” said Maloo.

First Published: Jul 11, 2018 12:56 IST