Dear Editor,From more than a decade, the prestigious symbol of Dogra heritage, Mubarak Mandi complex is crying for care. The complex has been the brand for the then State Government to promote tourism in Jammu and around but today, it is nothing more than a symbol of neglect.Mubarak Mandi palace was royal office of Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir of Dogra dynasty. It was the main seat of Maharaja Hari Singh till 1925. The palace is located in the heart of city of Jammu and overlooks Tawi River.A number of palaces in other areas of Jammu have already collapsed or are in an advanced stage of decay as no steps have so far been taken to preserve them. These edifices have potential of being preserved as living monuments to attract tourists, who pass through the town while on their way to Vaishno Devi Shrine or Kashmir Valley. But with faulty planning and red tapism in majority, it seems as if much hyped Mubarak Mandi Palace renovation project will not see the light of day and will become a part of history very soon.The renovation work on 187-year old building, undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), has not moved an inch over the past one year due to paucity of funds and lackadaisical approach of authorities. It is worth mentioning here that the renovation work started in 2008, when Ghulam Nabi Azad was the Chief Minister. Then, in 2016, Mehbooba Mufti while chairing 7th Governing Body meeting of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society (MMHS) issued directions for identifying agencies other than ASI having relevant expertise in conservation of heritage sites, so that they are entrusted with work to restore the buildings on fast-track basis.One can find a sign-board depicting- ‘Building Unsafe Do Not come Near’, which is here since years. It clearly shows the amount of work done to preserve the building. The question here arises what are agencies waiting for? When they know that building is unsafe why no action is being taken to preserve it? Just to place a sign board is enough?Is this the only duty of so-called concerned authorities working to preserve this heritage? It is sad that neither the Government nor the concerned agencies have taken serious steps to preserve the complex into its original architectural form.Not only the authorities but local residents and NGOs working on the project are equally to be blamed as they all also prefer doing meetings and discussions but nothing was done actually to preserve the cultural heritage. It is very unfortunate that the palace has become a victim of neglect. No one is bothered about historical palace which is a symbol of rich Dogra culture. The miniatures on walls in many of the buildings have already faded or vanished.The historic Gol-Ghar building was the first victim of neglect when it was gutted in 1980s. The ruins of multi-storied structure stand as a mute testimony to the Dogra rule. The debris of palace can still be seen lying in the area. It is one of the prime archaeological structures within the complex but it is unfortunate that portions of the structure are in an extremely precarious condition and no one is there to pay attention towards it. Through your esteemed daily, I would like to request LG Manoj Sinha to personally intervene in the matter for saving this Dogra Heritage.Sonakshi Jamwal,Panjthirthi.
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