Government to restore Red Fort's grandeur


Tihar Jail
Jan 21, 2014

With the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture criticising the Ministry of Culture for failing to renovate the iconic monument where the Prime Minister unfurls the National Tricolour on Independence Day, the Archaeological Survey of India has decided to make efforts to renovate the Red Fort in such a manner that the earlier grandeur of the Mughal-era is revived.

Speaking to The Hindu, ASI Director General Pravin Srivastava said: "We have been working at the Red Fort and trying to see to what extent we can bring this monument to its original glory."

The Committee wants the Red Fort as well as its surroundings to be developed. "It is sad that nothing has been done to renovate this great monument and compensate for the loss and deliberate destruction that took place during the colonial period by converting it into a military barrack."

Tabling its report titled "Upkeep of various Monuments in Delhi, National Museum and other important issues pertaining to the Ministry of Culture" in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the committee said the Red Fort was deliberately converted into a military barrack "leading to reckless encroachment and defacement."

The panel emphasised the need to integrate the Red Fort with Shahjahanabad. It said information and images of the entire Walled City area have been made into a dossier and despatched by the Ministry of Culture to UNESCO so that Delhi can get the tag of world heritage city.

The Committee has expressed concern over the lack of steps in improving the visibility of several important museums in the Red Fort. It said these buildings — the Freedom Fighter's Museum, the Indian War Memorial Museum and the Archaeological Museum — preserve important historical antiquities. While many posts are lying vacant, many museum staff have been working as casual workers for almost two decades, it notes.

"Steps need to be taken to fill these vacancies in time and also to regularise the eligible casual appointees to boost their morale so that they can contribute best in their career."

The Committee has recommended that the Ministries of Culture and Tourism make a joint effort for this purpose.

It appreciated the work done by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for carrying out renovation work at Humayun's Tomb, a testament to the brilliant architectural splendour of the Mughal period.

"In view of the importance of the monument, United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation also included the Humayun's Tomb in the list of world heritage site in 1993. Despite this, the Committee found in one of its visits that the monument was in a bad shape and its upkeep woefully inadequate. Water seeped through the roof and the blue Persian tiles were covered in dirt and grime. The once resplendent Mughal Gardens were overrun by dense overgrowth of wild grass and weeds. At many places, AKTC and ASI were found doing renovation work there."

Reacting to this report, AKTC project director Ratish Nanda said: "We are buoyed by this report. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has been evincing interest in the work being done by us. We hope to continue this effort with the government. Right now, we are working on a number of monuments around the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti area."

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