Amid a debate over the Red Fort being “adopted” by the private Dalmia Group, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Monday said that it has earmarked Rs 50 crore for restoration of the monument.
The current project entails building toilets, providing drinking water, signages, landscaping and horticulture, illumination of the facade and expansion of ticketing counters — all that Dalmia Group, which is to spend Rs 25 crore over the next five years to develop and maintain basic facilities at the complex, had pitched in its vision document to the Ministry of Tourism under ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme.
Additionally, the ASI is also conserving paintings at Chhatta Bazar and giving a facelift to the corridor, besides extensive cleaning of Diwan-e-Khas, Diwan-e-Aam and Naubat Khana.
All four museums — First War of Independence, Mumtaz Mahal, Subhash Chandra Bose, and World War II — will be shifted in a British-era building.
Even though the MoU with the Dalmia Bharat group was signed more than a month ago, nothing has taken off so far on ground. As per the MoU, the group promised to provide drinking water kiosks, benches and signages in six months’ time.
Working on war-footing, the ASI is carrying out repairs. Tenders have been awarded to agencies such as NBCC and CPWD for creating these facilities, while the conservation and cleaning is being carried out by ASI’s science wing. “We are using the mud pack therapy to clean the marble exteriors of the Diwan-e-Khaas, the technique being used at Taj Mahal,” said Janhwij Sharma, joint director-general (conservation and world heritage), ASI.
June 30 has been set as deadline to complete the project.