NEW DELHI

Qutub to be lit up

NEW DELHI, MARCH 11. A project that has been pending for almost two years now, the historic Qutub Minar it seems will finally emerge out of the shadows. Going the Taj Mahal way, the Qutub will also be thrown open to visitors till 10 in the night for a closer look.

"We hope to light up the Qutub by the end of this month. I visited the site in the morning. It was lit up a few days ago on an experimental basis and we are hoping that the work would finish soon. There is some cable which needs to be laid and we are in the process of doing it,'' said the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, C. Babu Rajeev.

Having roped in the Indian Tourism Development Corporation to do the lighting, the ASI has not fixed any light fixtures on the monuments. "The lighting will be reflected. There are no light fixtures on the monument. We are following the international guidelines,'' he stated.

While improving the Qutub complex has been on the ASI cards for sometime now with the former Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Jagmohan, having promised a new parking lot, demolitions of illegal encroachments around the complex and the opening the first floor of the monument to public, the ASI at the moment is however keen on more realistic steps.

"There have been grandiose plans earlier. But I think we will start with simpler steps without stepping on too many toes. The parking will be shifted to the land opposite which is owned by the ASI. The old parking area will be made green and we will have a ticket counter opposite it,'' said Mr. Babu.

Taking smaller steps to bring up the Qutub at par with other World Heritage Sites, the ASI might not be promising visitors a view from the minar just as yet, but it will ensure a visit to the Qutub by moonlight. "We have also thought of opening up the complex for visitors in the night. Since the complex is not well lit in some areas, we have approached the Central Public Works Department to install some lights. We have also identified places which we can shut off so that people don't go wandering around the complex at night,'' he remarked.