NEW DELHI – Tourists headed to Old Delhi during the Commonwealth Games will be greeted by the usual chaos in and around Jama Masjid. While the roof of the 17th-century monument again started leaking this monsoon, the situation outside doesn’t look promising either MCD is yet to start redevelopment work in areas surrounding the mosque.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had undertaken work on the main monument over three years ago following a Delhi high court order. And even as ASI claimed to have carried out repairs last year, leakage was reported from the dome just recently. This year though, ASI has not undertaken any work at the mosque.
Jama Masjid Shahi Imam SyedAhmed Bukhari said: “I recently wrote to the director general, ASI, and the authority informed us that restoration work will commence after August 15 for which a new estimate has been prepared. The biggest concern is the leakage from the main dome, as it could result in damage to the interiors,” he said. ASI officials said that they needed more cooperation from the Wakf Board if complaints of leakage from the main dome are received. “Work will soon commence and if the roof is again leaking, we will address the issue more precisely,” said officials.
ASI officials said conservation was a continuous process and they had already addressed a lot of concerns inside the heritage building such as flooring work and roof repairs. Other works undertaken involve replacing broken chajja stones and restoring damaged sections of marble. However, beautification work of areas around the mosque is yet to see light of the day.
The Jama Masjid redevelopment plan conceived over four years ago underwent many revisions and witnessed several delays in getting necessary clearances from DUAC and ASI. Sources indicate that MCD now plans to start work only after the Games. MCD commissioner K S Mehra said: “The procedures have been completed and work will soon begin.” Mehra, however, did not indicate a time-frame for the project.
Under the redevelopment plans, new road sections from Subhash Marg and peripheral roads will cater to traffic around the area and adequate provisions for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles will be made. A bay for tourist buses is also proposed on Subhash Marg. The market/shops around Dargah Sheikh Kalimullah will be turned into single-storey structures built at the level of the ground around Meena Bazar to avoid any obstruction to the view of the area.