Old Secretariat heritage site resembles a stinky, crumbling junkyard

The staircases are broken, spiders dangle from cobwebs all around, antiquated widows are separated from their hinges, century-old pillars are too fragile to hold the weight of the dilapidated buildings that have developed cracks.

SHAFAQ SHAH
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 18 2018 10:41PM | Updated Date: Nov 18 2018 10:41PM
Old Secretariat heritage site resembles a stinky, crumbling junkyardGK Photo

More than a century old, the Old Secretariat complex here is a heritage site so neglected that it now resembles a junkyard with mounds of garbage and discarded files lying all around the classic but crumbling structures.

The staircases are broken, spiders dangle from cobwebs all around, antiquated widows are separated from their hinges, century-old pillars are too fragile to hold the weight of the dilapidated buildings that have developed cracks.

The repulsive stench emanates from washrooms and other parts of the building alike.

This is today the condition of the old secretariat where many important offices like Directorate of Health Service, Social Welfare Department, Vigilance, Consumer court and other offices are housed.

The building complex, one of the oldest heritage sites in Kashmir has lost all its former glory and now authorities have transformed it into a junkyard since 2014 floods when damaged and discarded furniture, official files and even condemned vehicles were dumped here.

The Old Secretariat complex, seat of the erstwhile Dogra power, was declared a heritage site in 1977 and functioned as the highest seat of government after the end of their autocratic rule.

“Old secretariat was one of the offices that was not affected by the floods, but still its condition is such that it looks that the flood has created havoc to this building. The rusty almirahs that were damaged in the floods were brought to this building and since then they haven’t been removed,” said an official working at the complex.

Last year, Greater Kashmir reported about the unhygienic and filthy condition of the old secretariat complex, but nothing has changed since then. The torn pages, garbage and junk is still lying around.

An ambulance, couple of jeeps and some old damaged cars are stacked on top one another in its compound.

Not even the government’s Swach Bharat campaign has touched it.

Director Estates, Tariq Hussain Ganai said, “Within two months the almirahs and other stuff (dumped there after 2014 floods) will be auctioned.”

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