ASI needs to work better: Historians

Agra, Aug 22 (IANS) The conservationists and historians on Saturday said the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) needed to wokr more efficiently, after a British-era chandelier crashed down in the Taj Mahal complex on Wednesday.

They questioned the ASI’s competence to take good care of heritage monuments of the country.

“The crude fact is that the ASI is packed with ‘babus’ and contractors who neither have a vision nor a passion for maintenance of heritage sites. Corruption too has eroded the credibility of the ASI over the years,” reacted Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.

Eminent historian R. Nath told IANS: “We have said so many times that the time has come for bifurcating the work. You need professional administrative managers to look after the facilities, to manage the crowd and run the ticketing system. Another body of specialists should look after the maintenance work, which is a highly skilled job.”

Tourism industry leaders in Agra said they were not satisfied with the working of the ASI.

“Most of the work is done through contractors through the open tender system, without adequate quality check mechanism, so the gaps are clearly visible,” said Historian Raj Kishore Raje.

Weighing around 60 kgs, the six-feet high and four-feet wide chandelier was installed at the monument’s royal gate in 1905 on the instructions of Lord Curzon.

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