A tender floated by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) for the redevelopment of the Purana Qila area has become a bone of contention between the PSU and the Archaeological Survey of India. Last year, the NBCC had released Rs 15 crore, to be used over a period of five years, for the redevelopment of the site as part of its CSR activities, under the Ministry of Tourism’s Adopt a Heritage scheme.
At the time, NBCC had said that they wanted to spend the funds to redevelop the ticketing counter, visitor facilities, horticulture and build toilets at the site. But last week, NBCC released a tender on its website inviting bids for “Conservation, Restoration, and Upgradation in and around Purana Qila in New Delhi on behalf of Archaeological Survey of India”.
Officials at the ASI, which has been involved in the preservation and conservation of the monument for almost five decades, say the NBCC’s scope is to upgrade the facilities, while the survey continues its job of conservation and restoration. D N Dimri, spokesperson, ASI, said: “Our discussions with NBCC on Purana Qila are on and haven’t reached any conclusion yet.”
Rajendra Wanchoo, CGM (CSR), NBCC, said: “Initially, we were involved with maintenance and building facilities at Purana Qila, but it is a subsequent development that our task now also includes restoration and conservation. No work has been done in this direction at Purana Qila so far, and we are looking at ways to monetise our work at the site through sales at cafeteria and ticket counters.”
Responding to a query from The Sunday Express on this issue, Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam said: “Conservation and restoration at heritage sites and monuments are to be done by the government agency only, while the Adopt a Heritage plan entails maintenance and upgradation of facilities at a site.”