NEW DELHI: Qutub Minar will now come under intense scrutiny for keeping tabs on its ‘tili’ level. After requests from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), a team of experts from Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee will arrive in Delhi next month and conduct a periodical study of the 13th century monument to assess the tilt and ensure it has not aggravated.
The report of the last Qutub study by CBRI in 2005 said the tilt was in the range of 2.5cm to 4.7cm to the southwest side, but there was possible danger of further tilt due to the minar’s location in a seismic zone.
“Till last year, there was concern that rainwater seepage was affecting the foundation of the minar and possibly aggravating the tilt. But lime-terracing around it ensured no more rainwater would dampen Qutub’s foundation. Now, our concern is basically about the affect of vibrations caused by frequent movement of planes over Qutub Minar,” said a senior official.
Rising concern over the increasing number of planes flying over Qutub Minar and their close proximity to the structure had forced ASI to take up the matter with the civil aviation ministry. According to top sources, ASI had written to the ministry a few months ago asking them to ensure low-flying planes do not come close to the 72.5m-high monument. "We were told a study would be undertaken by IIT to ascertain whether plane vibrations had affected Qutub Minar, but the study is yet to take place,'' said an official.
ASI is also proposing to have the CBRI study conducted on an annual basis now. "Qutub Minar is a world heritage site and needs to be monitored on an annual basis. It is recommended to carry out geodetic observations every year so as to keep vigil on the stability of the monument,'' said a senior official. The geodetic survey ascertains the geological conditions around the structure. Top ministry sources said the proposal for an annual survey by CBRI was under consideration and could be started at the earliest.
According to ASI sources, it was worrying earlier as planes used to fly over the minar every two minutes. Sources said: "Ever since the new runway was inaugurated last September, Qutub Minar has been on the approach path and the frequency of planes flying over it had increased tremendously.''
Qutub Minar, buit by Qutubuddin Aibak, was the first monument in the capital to be awarded world heritage status by Unesco in 1993 and is also the most visited monument in Delhi, followed by Red Fort.