Tuesday, Dec 23, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Mandira Nayar
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, presenting a memento to the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Jagmohan, marking the handing over the possession of the Red Fort Complex, to the Archaeological Survey of India, at Red Fort in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
The Army had controlled part of the fort for 56 years. It enhanced its presence after a terrorist attack on the Fort in December 2000. The high-security complex, guarded by hundreds of soldiers, had also housed interrogation centres and other facilities for the intelligence agencies. The British rulers had earlier used the Fort to try those who participated in the freedom movement. Those convicted of ``treason'' were often hanged here.
Addressing a press conference, the Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Jagmohan, said: "We will now move to nominate Red Fort to UNESCO's [the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation] World Heritage List. It had been proposed for the list at an earlier date, but it was deferred. Since the nomination will be only at the end of next year, we have enough time to spruce up the rest of the Fort."
About 70 per cent of the Fort complex, spread over an area of 40 hectares, was under Army control. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which had controlled a part of the complex, is now moving to conserve its latest acquisition. The Minister said: "We had constituted a 14-member team of experts to advise the ASI about the ongoing conservation work. This team will also advise us about what to do with these buildings. Structures that have some historical significance or are interesting architecturally, we intend to keep. However, there are buildings like the lavatories and storerooms that the Army used; those we might demolish. Some buildings may also used by the Institute of Archaeology for field training. We shall also convert some buildings into museums. The new cadre of officers that we plan for the Heritage Service can also have some training facilities here. But these are only proposals; action will only be taken once the expert committee submits its report.''
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, and Mr. Jagmohan, jointly unveiled a plaque with the inscription ``Indian Army at Red Fort 1947-2003', after the Fourth Sikh Light Infantry battalion, which was the last battalion to be there, presented a guard of honour to the Defence Minister.
Putting to rest any doubts people might have about the security of the Fort once the Army moves out, Mr. Jagmohan said: "We have identified the sensitive spots. These will be manned by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The local police will also provide back up. We have also decided to increase our own security personnel so that there is no problem."
The Minister promised to open to the public soon the hitherto inaccessible sections of the Fort. He is planning to bring the Agra Fort also under the control of the ASI.
"All the Forts occupied by the Army can't be taken over, but we are corresponding with the Defence Ministry to get the Agra Fort under our control."
Emperor Shah Jehan had moved his capital to Delhi from Agra. It took some 29 years to complete the sprawling complex: it was completed in 1647.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of