Officials from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) visited the century-old baoli in Badshahpur on Sunday morning and ordered a survey to ascertain whether the “sector road” can be constructed without damaging the stepwell.
On Thursday, The Indian Express had reported that officials would visit the stepwell to decide if it should make way for the road — fuelling rumours among residents that the structure will have to be covered up or buried.
“We visited the stepwell today and found it was quite old and in pretty bad shape. But we are trying to see how we can construct the road while preserving the structure. Changing the route or alignment of the sector road is not possible at this juncture, since the land has already been acquired… which is a lengthy process,” Yashpal Yadav, HUDA administrator, said.
“I have directed the engineers to undertake a survey to ascertain what can be done — maybe we can put slabs on the stepwell and construct over it. They will conduct the survey and the report should be out in the coming days. We will decide the future course of action after that,” he said.
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had also written to the Haryana government on Friday, requesting it to take measures to preserve the structure.
The stepwell lies in the city’s Badshahpur village, adjoining a government school for girls. Residents claimed it was constructed in 1905 by a landowner for community purposes and to provide water for livestock and cattle.
Over the years, however, it has fallen into a state of disrepair — plastic and other waste is strewn on the surface of the water, which is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Residents too are divided on the potential disappearance of the stepwell. Some are disappointed by the development, fearing the loss of the structure that they see as an integral part of their cultural history. Others, however, said the road will lead to better connectivity and progress for the village and added that burying the stepwell would not be a great loss.