Already behind schedule, the upcoming Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate heritage Metro corridor has suffered another setback.
Despite the submission of the heritage impact assessment report to National Monument Authority (NMA) on December 16, the confusion over the ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey is proving to be a major hurdle for approval of this Phase III Metro line.
The heritage impact assessment report by the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) suggests that a GPR survey must be conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on both sides of the proposed alignment to identify the area for possible archaeological findings below the route.
Since the 9-km Metro corridor aims to link heritage sites such as Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Sunehri Masjid, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) needs the NMA’s approval to carry out construction work.
The NMA wants to verify that the Metro corridor does not damage these monuments before giving the go-ahead for construction.
The hitch arose after the DMRC said it had already conducted a GPR survey.
“The DMRC told us that a GPR survey was conducted by them in 2011. They said the GPR survey does not point out any possible archaeological damage, and that the heritage corridor should be given approval. However, the report has not been submitted to the NMA so far,” NMA chairperson Himanshu Prabha Ray said.
NMA said the GPR survey findings were not attached to the heritage assessment report. “The SPA conducted the heritage assessment report on behalf of DMRC. It is pertinent that the agency was not informed of the outcomes, despite a GPR survey being conducted. The approval to the Metro corridor will be granted after we see the GPR survey report,” she said.
This issue was not resolved in a meeting of DMRC and NMA on December 20. The Delhi Metro said the GPR survey report would be submitted to NMA in the next meeting.
“The GPR survey is supposed to be conducted by ASI. But we had conducted the survey last year. We will soon submit the report to NMA for evaluation,” a Delhi Metro spokesperson said.
“Since the corridor runs through historic sites, we believe that it might help in the discovery of medieval archaeology. If a GPR survey has not been conducted by Delhi Metro, then the Archaeological Survey of India will have to conduct a survey on the 30-metre impact zone on both sides of the proposed alignment within three months,” an NMA official said.