ASI says cafeterias not illegal

Shutting down eateries and canteens leave tourists' hassled


Shivani Chaturvedi | June 21, 2010

The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee has sealed eateries and cafeteria inside the three historical monuments of the city--- Red Fort, Purana Quila and Humayun’s Tomb. Plus, stalls outside some of these monuments have also been shut down.

One of the members of the Monitoring Committee not wishing to be quoted says these eateries and shops were not covered under the Master Plan 2021. The shops in the monuments’ premises were unauthorised. While those outside the premises were running on public land without permission. Due to the eateries in the monuments’ premises gardens used to remain unclean. It was the complaints from the visitors’ which swung the Monitoring Committee into action.

But at the time the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials are not ready to accept that the canteens and the eatery shops were illegal. ASI’s superintending archaeologist, Delhi circle, KK Muhammed said, “These canteens were run by people of employees welfare society so that the benefits can reach to members of employees welfare committee. These shops were not illegal.”

Whatever may be the reasons for closing the canteens and stalls, the present situation has added to tourists’ woes. Those coming to visit the stone monuments baking in the 46heat are left with no other option. There is just one water cooler at Humayun’s Tomb which certainly does not cater to thousands of visitors’ coming daily. A shut canteen left Patrick and Katrin from Germany in the lurch. “We thought we will take water bottle from the canteen but it’s closed. Sun is right over the head and we are not even able to have some water," Katrin said.

Refreshments near a monument are not a threat to something that has survived over the sanctuaries. Tourists from all over the world, who keep history alive through their interest in these monuments, would find it rather convenient. At Humayun's tomb, Hannah, a Dutch tourist, sorely missed a place where she could buy water. On her first day in Delhi.






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