Municipality pulled up for delaying Jama Masjid re-development

July 15th, 2008 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday pulled up Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for not starting the re-development work of the historic Jama Masjid despite all sanctions and budget allocation. A division bench of Justices Mukul Mudgal and Manmohan criticised MCD for not complying with the court’s earlier order of completing the re-development work in 24 months, which ended this May.

The court was hearing a public interest petition by the Heritage and Cultural Forum, an NGO run by Usha Kumar, a lawyer, seeking re-development work at the mosque.

The 17th century mosque has not been declared a protected monument so far, though the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) have included it in their respective lists of protected monuments, the petition said.

However, the Waqf Board opposed the petition on the point of declaring the monument a protected one, saying that it would hurt the religious sentiments of those who visit it to offer prayers as the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) does not allow offering prayers inside a protected monument.

On Oct 6, 2006 the court had approved all plans and the estimated cost for the work.

MCD told the court that it had already sent the proposal to Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) for approval.

The corporation’s lawyer informed the court that a meeting with DUAC officials was scheduled for Wednesday after which they would move ahead with the work.

The civic agency had launched a website providing all information regarding the re-development plan of the mosque so that the entire process could be transparent and involve the people, he told the court.

However, the court seemed unsatisfied with MCD’s reply and asked DUAC to appear before it and inform it about the project work on Sep 24, the next date of hearing.

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