| citing in full, note how the news-story does
| not refer to the so-called cons 'experts'
| around. i presume this is a real media story
| not the usual "i print about my friends" story
| now who was saying this hyper-activity around
| the con's business creates major holes in
| the conservation policy in this country? paving
| way for litigation and goons to do-as-they-please?


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Mughal `chaupal' makes way for modern `baraat ghar'

By Mandira Nayar

NEW DELHI, JAN. 13. The Delhi Government does not seem to practise what
it preaches. While it has passed the Ancient and Historical Monuments
and Archaeological Sites and Remains Bill only recently, its promise to
protect heritage lacks commitment judging by the recent instance of a
chaupal in Kalu Sarai dating back to the Mughal period being razed at
the instance of one of its MLAs to make place for a "baraat ghar''.

Listed by the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage
(INTACH) in "Delhi: The Built Heritage", the chaupal had been notified
by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in July 2002 and any changes
to the structure required the permission of the MCD. However, blatantly
violating the law, the Delhi Government has managed to erase an
important bit of history.

Hidden away in the midst of a bustling urban village that was once the
capital of the maverick Mohammad-bin-Tughlak, the chaupal was the only
Mughal contribution in a Tughlak dominated area. An archaeologically
rich area, it was minutes away from the centrally protected Begumpur
Masjid and its disappearance points to how little the Government and its
MLAs value the past.

The first time a listed building has been wilfully destroyed by the
Delhi Government, conservationists feel that even the usually
insensitive MCD fares better in comparison.

On her part, the area MLA Kiran Walia was totally ignorant about the
significance of the structure and was more concerned that the "baraat
ghar'' had not been built.

"This just shows how insensitive people in politics are. On one hand
they have passed a Bill in the Legislative Assembly to protect heritage,
on the other they continue to destroy it. It is now crucial for
politicians to decide whether heritage is important. If we are to make
Delhi a heritage city, then the bureaucrats and the politicians must
decide to protect it. How long can non-government organisations and
citizens fight the battle if the Government is not strong in its resolve
to protect heritage,'' asked the INTACH's Delhi Chapter convenor, O.P
Jain. While there has been a move to strengthen the position of
unprotected heritage buildings in the city by the Union Urban
Development Ministry that has constituted a 14-member heritage committee
under the direction of the Supreme Court, it seems that the members have
their task cut out. With a few buildings of the 1,206 listed by INTACH
already missing from Delhi's skyline since the inventory was published
four years ago, time is certainly running out. And as the protectors of
the past are not willing to guarantee a place for it in future, the
members will need much more than just commitment to save heritage.