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Nila Gumbad stand-off: PM requested to resolve issue

The Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports,M S Gill,and the Chairman of Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC),KT Ravindran, have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention in resolving the deadlock...

Written by Sweta Dutta | New Delhi | January 4, 2010 3:20:40 am

The Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports,M S Gill,and the Chairman of Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC),KT Ravindran, have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention in resolving the deadlock between the Railways and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over the area adjoining the Nila Gumbad.

The Railways and the ASI has been sparring over the ownership and maintenance of the land around the Mughal-era monument,as a result of which a question mark now hangs over its conservation.

Following a report by Newsline,Gill and Ravindran have urged the PM to save the monument by resolving the issue.

The ASI had requested the Railways to extend the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two,signed in March 2004,to allow the heritage body to undertake a beautification drive in the monument’s vicinity. It had also requested that a road be diverted so that the heritage structure could be incorporated in the Humayun’s Tomb complex.

The Railways had,however,turned it down,claiming the ASI had failed to do much during the five-year period after the MoU was signed. The Railways,meanwhile,also undertook construction,prohibited within 100 m of the protected site,which was later stalled after an FIR was filed by the ASI.

Gill has earlier lived in Nizamuddin East area and frequented the Nila Gumbad,which stands in the buffer zone of the Humayun’s Tomb,a World Heritage Site.

His letter states: “I have a deep interest in monuments and archaeology and have studied the monument. It is a valuable monument,evidence of close link with Timur’s Samarkand. The blue green tiles and the patterns on the side can be seen on Timur’s own monument in Samarkand. For1 students of cultural history,it is a visible link. This valuable monument is suffering from the conflict between the Railways and the ASI and the indifference and lack of urgency shown by both. I request you to intervene and give the necessary direction to resolve this conflict,which is doing such damage to a historically valuable monument. Years have passed in this argument… Kindly give the necessary directions to properly preserve the Nila Gumbad and link it with the Humayun Complex.”

KT Ravindran,DUAC chairman,told Newsline,“We have written to the Prime Minister pointing out the significance of this monument and the incongruous development around the area. Moreover,the illegal construction near the site was not approved by us. This is a serious offence on the part of the Railways.”

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