MP: Indore waiting for its Rajwada for the past 6 years; Officials now say, Smart City Rajwada renovation will be completed by December

However, the archaeology department doubts this looking at the present condition of the palace.

ARSH RAFIK VISAALUpdated: Monday, November 21, 2022, 10:02 AM IST
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Rajwada | FP Photo

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Indore Smart City, which is renovating Rajwada, claims the work will be completed within the December deadline, but senior officials of the directorate of archaeology, archives and museums doubt this looking at the present condition of the palace. The palace renovation work has been going on for the past seven years.

However, senior Smart City officials emphasise that they are on the finishing line of the project, which will be completed in December itself—possibly by December 15. The ISCDL will hand over the palace to the state archaeology department which will maintain the palace then onwards.

When Free Press asked for the execution plan from senior officials of the state archaeology department, the officials said that, looking at the present condition of the palace, they doubt the claims of Smart City officials.

An official, on condition of anonymity, said, “There’s much work left to be done in the palace and it’s hard to predict that it’ll be completed within another 20-25 days. However, we can only wait and watch…”

How soon will open to public?

“As soon as we get custody of the palace, we’ll make it functional and let the public enjoy the rich heritage of Indore,” said an official.

What will be the ticket prices?

Officials said that a high amount will be taken from visitors as entry fee is only a rumour and not true. “There’ll be a nominal charge of approximately between Rs 10 and Rs 30. We haven’t decided on the price since the palace is not in the custody of the state archaeology department,” said officials.

What will be new to the place?

“The department has plans in the pipeline to introduce a museum inside the palace premises where the rich history of the Holkar rulers and their assets will be exhibited. There’s no plan to take additional charges from visitors to this museum; it’ll be included in the ticket,” said an official.

Six years of delayed journey

After the palace wall collapse on May 29, 2017, a tender was floated by Indore Smart City Development Limited for Rs 19.92 crore for conservation, restoration and redevelopment of Rajwada (Phase 1) with a completion period of 24 months (expected by May 2019).

On December 4, 2017, a team of senior officials of the district administration and Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) inspected heritage buildings in the Gopal Mandir area where the civic body carried out a demolition drive a day before causing an effect on the heritage building.

On May 14, 2019, IMC issued a termination notice to a private agency engaged in conservation and restoration of Rajwada for failing to complete the work in time. With the notice, IMC also issued a penalty of Rs 2 lakh on the contractor.

On November 11, 2020, the urinals opposite the Rajwada Palace were suspected to have caused cracks in the palace, said professor Dr Arum Menon, the wood expert invited from IIT-Chennai on his visit to Rajwada Palace on November 11 for inspection.

On June 10, 2021, Indore municipal commissioner—at an inspection meeting she held regarding the work—gave a deadline of October 15, 2021, to the officials to complete the rejuvenation and restoration work on the Rajwada Palace which was delayed for the past five and a half years but the work has not got completed, so far.

On July 26, 2021, Indore Smart City Development Limited CEO Rishav Gupta gave a deadline of December 2021 to get the work completed, but, till January 2022, much of the work was pending and officials and workers working there, on anonymity, claimed it would take almost another year—or a few more months at least—for the entire work to get completed.

On August 13, 2021, at a review meeting held by MP Shankar Lalwani, municipal commissioner Pratibha Pal said the work would be completed by December 15, 2021.

On June 27, 2022, Pal inspected the palace and gave a deadline of July 30 for completion of the work.

Now, Smart City claims it will be completed by December 15, 2022.

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