With no funds for renovation, MMHS goes on experiment spree
MUBARAK MANDI PALACE VANISHING HERITAGE
Jammu, Aug 28: While the renovation work on historic Mubarak Mandi Palace--once the royal residence of erstwhile Dogra rulers—has been halted due to shortage of funds, the controversial Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society (MMHS), which was entrusted with the task to restore complex to its original shape, seems to be experimenting with heritage.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the MMHS has paid nearly Rs 52 lakh to the Roads and Building (R&B) department for restoration of the main Deodi (also called Chowk Chabutra gate), a large gate of wood arched at the top, and construction of two supporting walls.
“The work on main Deodi was executed on experiment basis to see whether the R&B could perform the complete renovation of the complex. It was the glaring example of wasteful expenditure of the funds meant for conservation of historical and cultural complexes. Interestingly, the renovation work on main Deodi will be taken again, as and when, the government releases the funds,” sources said.
They maintained that main Deodi is still in dilapidated condition and presents shabby looks especially during rainy season. “Whenever it rains, water trickles down from large gate of wood arched at the top. Rainwater has caused extensive damage to the structure and restored portion (where the work was executed on experiment basis) of the Deodi has also suffered damage,” said sources.
They added that there was no need to undertake the restoration work on experiment basis. “This heritage complex is already crying for funds. Many of old and dilapidated structures are decaying and crumbling. We could not understand the rationale behind the experiment. The R&B department even used cement for restoration of the Deodi which was itself the violation of the project,” sources said.
The estimated cost of the whole renovation project is worked out at Rs 236 crore, while the 13th Finance Commission has also awarded Rs 52 crore. The Government of India so far has released measly Rs 3 crore as against the sanctioned amount of Rs 4.37 crore.
On Saturday early morning, a four-room structure adjacent to Dogra Art Museum collapsed due to heavy rains. This structure was once used by the Nazool department. It also increased the risk to the Dogra Art Museum.
“The heritage complex is crying for funds and the old structures are crumbling down with every passing day. The authorities concerned are least bothered about slow pace of restoration work. The government will have to take immediate steps if it was really serious to conserve and develop the complex into its original architectural form,” sources maintained.
Sources said that Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is also suffering from shortage of manpower which is another faction causing delay in restoration work.
Rajesh Dutt (46), a resident of Mubarak Mandi said, “The ASI took over three years to restore and renovate the foreign office building and Army Headquarters of erstwhile Dogra rulers. It will take several decades If ASI really wanted to restore the whole complex to its original shape.”
“A proposal of Rs 50 crore has been sent to the Government of India under 13th Finance Commission which, when released, to be utilized for the renovation of Raja Amar Singh Mahal, Dogra Art Museum, Badi Deodi, Royal Court, Gadwayi Khana, Raja Ram Singh Palace (Queen),” sources said.
They added that a mega tourism project prepared by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) costing Rs 25 crore has also been sent to the Government of India under which Raja Ram Singh Palace, Darbar Hall, Central Court Yard, Zanana Court Yard and Toshakhana will be renovated.
“A project with an estimated cost of Rs 23.62 crore has also been sent to the Government of India for renovation of historic Gole Ghar under World Monument Funds,” sources added.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 28 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 28 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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