Express India
News Service
Delhi Newsline
Friday, April 18, 2003

ASI officials take royal bath at Tomb

New Delhi, April 17: A DAY after the water channels in the 16th Century Humayun’s Tomb were inaugurated by Aga Khan, leader of the Shia Ismaili sect, guess who was seen enjoying a royal shower in the water tanks—officials of Archaeological Survey of India.

The ASI officials, it seems, had decided to celebrate the completion of the garden restoration project in their own style. Eyewitnesses at the site said that at least four officials decided to take the plunge into the waters to beat the heat.

National Culture Fund officials, who have been working on the garden restoration project for three years now, are enraged.

Though the project was being run in collaboration with the ASI, there were indications of some discomfirt. ASI officials had been complaining openly about not being given enough importance in the project.

While the Aga Khan Trust has funded the entire project worth Rs 2.5 crore, the ASI had earlier spent an equal amount for the restoration of the Tomb and the other heritage structures in the complex.

Sources in the Union Ministry for Culture too said that ASI officials saw the publicity given to the garden restoration project as unfair, considering that the ASI had been working on the Tomb’s conservation.

At the inauguration of the water channels on Tuesday, a senior ASI official had been asked to identify himself by the guards of a private security agency that was hired specifically for the day’s events. The official not only had a spat with the guards but also walked out in a huff. While the ASI is overall in-charge of the Tomb, the site will be maintained by the National Culture Fund for a year.