STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: Former Minister and President, Dogra Sadar Sabha, Jammu, Th. Gulchain Singh Charak, on Thursday held the apathy, amongst the officials at helm, responsible for putting the priceless Dogra heritage of Mubarak Mandi, Jammu to risk of collapsing during coming monsoons.Stating this in a press statement after visiting the historic complex, he said that despite bringing the matter to the notice of the UT administration repeatedly, over quite some time, the strengthening of the slopes supporting the palaces towards the Tawi side of the heritage complex has not taken up so far.He pointed out that, with the monsoon being just around the corner, severe damage to these historic buildings, even leading to their collapse, cannot be ruled out during heavy downpours.Charak disclosed that during his visit to the Mubarak Mandi complex on today the 3rd June 2021 he found that no work was being done in this regard.On contacting the Chief Engineer, PWD Jammu, he was informed that a committee of engineers stood constituted by him, some time back, to study the problem and furnish a report for the requisite strengthening required to be undertaken on urgent basis.However, no report has been submitted by the aforesaid Committee so far, nor any further action has been taken to ensure the safety of the heritage structures.He also expressed disappointment that the rare and precious artifacts of the Dogra Art Museum, including its collection of paintings worth crores of rupees, were continuing to deteriorate due to dust, etc., in the old Army HQ building where these had been temporarily shifted, to facilitate restoration of the Marble Hall and other buildings earmarked for locating the Museum permanently.He said that despite being pointed out by him repeatedly, no flooring had been provided, or other protective measures taken, for their proper preservation at the temporary location.He said that, in a similar manner, the fragile 300 years old records of Archives was also in danger of being further damaged during the coming monsoon due to excessive moisture and dampness, as no proper protection of the windows and ventilators had been done to prevent water from seeping into the Halls of the Army Headquarters complex during heavy rains, where the record has been kept till such time as the Raja Amar Singh palace and other buildings earmarked for locating the archives, conservation lab and the library are restored.Charak further expressed dismay that even the restoration work already taken up, on some of the heritage buildings, was proceeding at a snail’s pace despite a couple of years having lapsed since approval of the DPR’s and allocation of funds to the tune of Rs 65 crores by the Government. He said that the inordinate delay in execution of the work after allotment of contracts to expert agencies from Rajasthan, Utter Pradesh, etc. is giving rise to misgivings among the people of Jammu about the possibility of some vested interests trying to sabotage the work of conservation of Dogra heritage.He asserted, however, that the people of Jammu will not allow the work to be derailed.He further pointed out that utmost vigilance was required to be exercised to ensure that historic architectural features like precious stones studded in the carvings on the walls in the Marble Hall, the glass work in Sheesh Mahal, frescos and artistic panels in the ceilings and walls of various heritage buildings are properly protected from theft or vandalism.He said that a proper inventory of all such rare and historic architectural features needs to be drawn up, immediately, and the complex opened up for the public so that the grandeur of such features, and the ongoing conservation work can be seen by them.He also emphasized that a proper mechanism was required to be put in place for properly salvaging and safe keeping of the historical material like door panels, windows, ceilings and other woodwork etc. which are being dismantled during the restoration work so that it is properly reused and/or preserved as archeological evidence.He urged the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha to hold an early meeting of the Governing Body, Mubarak Mandi Jammu Heritage Society for looking into these issues and consider appropriate orders to ensure that this priceless heritage of Dogras does not suffer further damage, and its restoration work is expedited for completion in time for the celebrations of 75 years of India’s Independence in 2022 as already decided and declared, and eagerly awaited by the people of Jammu.
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