With the holy month of Ramzan upon the city questions remain whether the DMRC was a little too late in formally handing over the land back to the civic body.

For the last few days, a controversy has been brewing in the heart of the Walled City surrounding a disputed structure in Subhas Park believed to be the remains of the Shahjahan-period Akbarabadi mosque.

However, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the agency that was instrumental in unearthing this Mughal-era structure, seems to have taken a backseat while finger pointing continues between the other three supposed custodians – the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), the Delhi Police and the Archaeological Survey of India.

With the holy month of Ramzan upon the city questions remain whether the DMRC was a little too late in formally handing over the land back to the civic body.

According to a report tabled by Municipal Commissioner P. K. Gupta on Monday at the House meeting, the NDMC had handed over the land in question on April 11, 2012 without any encumbrances to DMRC for its Phase-III project and during the excavation, historical remains had been unearthed from a site near Jama Masjid as claimed by local MLA Shoaib Iqbal to be part of the 17 Century Akbarabadi mosque.

However, the disagreement between the civic body and the DMRC is over when the latter wrote asking for the land to be taken back. Last week, the North Delhi Mayor Mira Aggarwal had blamed the DMRC for not intimating the civic body earlier on the situation which saw the local MLA Shoaib Iqbal constructing a new mosque at the site. “The Delhi Government instructed DMRC to hand over the land to the civic body. There was no communication whatsoever before July 17,” she said, about the written communication from DMRC.

For its part, the DMRC says that the transfer of land started long before the written communication. “The DMRC started preliminary work on the land and during preliminary digging of the area, it came upon the ruins. The local MLA said it was the remains of the old mosque,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

“The DMRC immediately discussed the matter with the civic body and meetings were held with them to discuss how much of the area should be handed back to them.” These discussions also led to the decision to shift the alignment for the proposed station, said the spokesperson.

Work on DMRC’s proposed “heritage corridor” that will run adjacent to important heritage sites such as Jantar Mantar, Khooni Darwaaza, Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi Gate, Sunehri Masjid and Red Fort continues pending permission from the National Monuments Authority.

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