18 Dec : The Government has identified 46 monuments in Delhi including Jantar Mantar complex, Red Fort, Delhi Gate and Feroz Shah Kotla for restoration and conservation keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
"Restoration and conservation work has already begun on these 46 monuments. I hope that it will be completed at the time of Commonwealth Games," Minister for Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni said during the Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Thursday.
There are 174 monuments or sites in Delhi that have been declared as of national importance, the minister said adding, out of these, 46 have been identified for restoration and 13 for illumination.
Security may be strengthened in and around Taj Mahal
In the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is considering beefing up security in and around Taj Mahal, this follows a demand by CISF, which at present guards the 17th century heritage site, to augment security.
"A fresh survey was conducted to know the requirements, including manpower. The CISF has to make sure that proper deployment is made," ASI Director General Anshu Vaish said.
After the survey, the CISF has demanded additional personnel and other measures to thwart any possible attack by terrorists at the Monument of Love.
"We will review the demands made by the CISF on the security front and we will do it accordingly. Of course, with the permission of the Union Home Ministry," Vaish said.
Officials from the Home Ministry, ASI and CISF reviewed the security of Taj Mahal and other monuments in the country.
Security of monuments has come under special focus in the aftermath of terrorists striking iconic Taj Mahal Hotel and world heritage site of Chatrapati Shivaji Station in Mumbai last month.
The ASI chief said the agency will provide all necessary help to the CISF in view of the threat perception after the Mumbai carnage.At present, 181 CISF men guard the Taj Mahal which is a strict no-fly zone. The CISF men are equipped with modern gadgets and also dog squad and search lights.
"We have provided search lights and illumination facilities as demanded by the CISF and we have also reduced the visiting hours at the Taj based on their request," Vaish said.
She said ASI was taking steps to strengthen security at all heritage sites protected by it in the country and that it has written to all regional superintendents to strictly follow the directives.
"We have already written to the Superintendents of the regions asking them to beef up the security. Private security agencies guarding some monuments are also told to tighten security measures," she said.