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Uproar in Jaipur as underground metro puts heritage sites at risk

Aug 21, 2014 09:26 AM IST India India
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Jaipur: Protests are on in the Pink city against the plan to bring Jaipur Metro right into the 300 year old walled premises of the old city. Residents and experts alike, feel that the underground metro would be destructive to old monuments like Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Isar Lat.

"The vibration could also lead to cracks in Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. As everybody has been talking about Hawa Mahal is not a very solid structure, it has got walls and its foundation isn't deep either. Suddenly you have something which doesn't belong there, a metro. It's a shame," Convenor INTACH Jaipur Dharmendar Kanwar said.

The metro project was begun by the previous Ashok Gehlot government but the present Vasundhara Raje government has decided to go ahead with the underground phase despite warnings from the Archaeological Survey of India. However, Raje is blaming the previous Congress government for the project.

"This is heritage city. People come here to see the pink city. Now this metro is ruining its skyline. And this first phase metro will come at a cost of Rs 50 crore per yr. Such is the great planning by the previous government," Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said.

The prospect of metro chugging right under the walled city of Jaipur comes with the threat of causing irreversible damage to many of these heritage monuments. The question is that how can a government that was voicing its concerns over heritage just months back, allow financial viability to prevail over looming loss of priceless heritage and also that who should be held accountable for such a decision in the future.