The newly refurbished Purana Qila and its lake was inaugurated on Wednesday by Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma in the presence of BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, Culture Secretary Arun Goel and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Director General Usha Sharma among others.
The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) had been assigned the task of restoring the lake which is also famous for boating among Delhi residents. The restoration of the various facilities and the illumination of Purana Qila have been done at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore. Out of this, NBCC has contributed about Rs 15 crore as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. NBCC will also maintain the site for the next two years.
NBCC has paved the lake embankment with stones and the bed has been covered with a “perforated geotextile sheet” to stop percolation. The restored lake has been filled using treated water from the Okhla Sewage Treatment Plant which stretches from Talaaqi Darwaza to Bada Darwaza and surrounds the fort.
In order to implement National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) orders, there would be no entry of food items or plastic water bottles within the Purana Qila. ASI director general Usha Sharma told PTI that the public can avail the newly inaugurated facilities with an entry ticket of Rs 20 only to the moat and enjoy the evening illumination as well. She added that the museum of antiquities and excavation site would also be inaugurated soon.
The NGT had earlier slammed the ASI over the poor condition of the lake and summoned its senior official to explain why it had not been cleaned despite its direction.
The refurbishment includes illumination of Purana Qila, publications counter including ASI publications, restoration of the moat to the west and northwest of the fort, e-ticketing system, development of the garden, parking facility and a souvenir shop for the benefit of visitors.
Purana Qila has been one of the major tourist attractions in the national capital and combined with the Delhi Zoological Park, a large number of visitors throng the historical sites.