Conservation work around the historic Neela Gumbad, part of the Humayun’s Tomb, is being hampered because of dumping of railway paraphernalia near the monument.

An abandoned room of Northern Railway next to the garbage dump is preventing construction of a by-pass by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which wants to connect Neela Gumbad with Humayun’s Tomb. This would also enable the octagonal structure, next to the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station (HNRS), to become part of the world heritage site.

Speaking to The Hindu, AKTC project director Ratish Nanda said it was important to allow visitors’ access to Neela Gumbad, ensure preservation of the world heritage site as well as simplify operations of the railway station. “We have been urging the Railways to design and implement a landscape scheme but nothing concrete has come out of it.” Heavy sleepers and other railway material have been dumped near the monument. “This has emboldened the local residents in the Nizamuddin area to dump their litter here. The Archaeological Survey of India, which signed an MoU with the Railways to develop the Neela Gumbad area, has entrusted AKTC with the task of conserving the monument and constructing a by-pass,” said Suraj Kumar, a conservator.

In his letter this past Monday, ASI Director General Pravin Srivastava reminded Northern Railway of the agreement regarding development of the Neela Gumbad area. “The agreement incorporates demolition of a small abandoned room of the Railways next to the garbage dump to facilitate construction of the by-pass.”

A senior Northern Railway official said: “We had temporarily given the land to ASI for beautifying the area. To decongest the HNRS we have to store our material there (near the monument).”

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