INTACH to lose heritage project in Lodhi Garden

Archaeology authority to take back restoration work

The Archaeological Survey of India has decided to take back the restoration work of monuments at Lodhi Garden from the heritage conservation body, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, citing “unsatisfactory” quality of work. 

Though the INTACH said the ASI was looking for reasons to terminate their work agreement owing to lack of funds.

In 2009, the two bodies had signed an MoU to conserve five monuments at Lodhi Garden in a phased manner with a funding of Rs 1 crore from Steel Authority of India (SAIL).

The ASI has taken this step as it found the work done by INTACH to be ‘sub-standard’. “The quality of the work undertaken by INTACH on the monuments in over three years is not up to the mark,” said a senior official with ASI.

Supposedly, the biggest public-private collaboration in Delhi between the ASI and INTACH has come to an end.

The INTACH, however, refuted the allegations about the quality of work. “If they aren’t satisfied with our work, why don’t they show us what do they mean by quality work?” convener of INTACH Delhi Chapter, A G K Menon told Deccan Herald. 

“We reject their statement. For one they are reviewnig the work three years after it’s done. Secondly, the conservation process was taken up under the supervision of the ASI,” Menon added.

INTACH agreed that there were some “small irregularities”, which were rectified. “In 2010, a team of ASI inspected the work done and found some faults with it, which the INTACH accepted and rectified,” he said.

“One of the main bottlenecks is funding. The ASI have been meaning to take the work back from us as they couldn’t not provide us adequate funds.”

According to INTACH, the ASI had stopped releasing funds through the National Culture Fund (NCF). 

“We were only given Rs 25 lakh to start the work in April 2009. We finished work at Tomb of Mohammed Shah by September 2009. We asked for the second installment but the ASI didn’t pay heed to the request,” Menon added.

Since then the work has not been going on smoothly. “If the ASI wants to take the work back from us, it can very well do that as we were asked for help by them. But their reason is not acceptable to INTACH.”

In 2012, the ASI formed an expert committee which criticised INTACH for the work done at Lodhi Garden. 

According to the MoU, in the first phase, Bara Gumbad, Shish Gumbad and Mohammed Shah’s tomb were to be conserved and phase-2 comprised Sikander Lodi’s tomb and Athpula.

Comments (+)