STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Dogra Sadar Sabha (DSS) on Monday thanked the Principal Secretary to Lieutenant Governor J&K, Niteshwar Kumar for his visit to Mubarak Mandi Jammu, to inspect the ongoing work of restoration and adaptive reuse of the Complex.
DSS President Gulchain Singh Charak, in a statement issued here, welcomed the keen interest evinced by Niteshwar Kumar in various aspects of the on-going works during his inspection of the heritage site and expressed confidence that, besides galvanising the agencies engaged in conservation and protection of the priceless heritage, his visit will also facilitate providing of objective and valuable feedback to the LG for resolving issues and removing the bottlenecks coming in the way of speedy progress of the work.
He expressed hope that far from satisfactory conditions in which the centuries old historic, but brittle, record of the Archives Department has been temporarily shifted, till work on the Archives building is completed, would now be urgently attended to.
He further pointed out that proper covering of the floor is also required in the portion where some of the paintings and other artifacts from the Dogra Arts Museum have been temporarily displayed, so that a dust free environment, being essential for their preservation, is provided there till the time that work on conservation and adaptive reuse of buildings earmarked for Museum galleries in the complex is completed.
Charak also expressed concern regarding newspaper reports that the PPP mode was proposed to be explored in conservation of the heritage buildings.
He pointed out that the Palace Complex was the primary symbol of Dogra identity and the Master Plan for its conservation and adaptive reuse which had been got prepared by the Mubarak Mandi Jammu Heritage Society envisaged its preservation as an active and self sustaining cultural heritage centre with the aim of, besides facilitating cultural exchange and urban rejuvenation of the old City, extending the stay of lakh of Mata Vaishno Devi Yatris in Jammu.
He asserted that caution was therefore required to be exercised before considering any proposal for handing over the Complex to private players for commercial use as hotels, except for the portion earmarked for such purpose, as per earlier decisions of the Executive Body/Governing Body of the Society arrived at with active participation of citizens.
Any deviation is likely to affect its standing as the flagship of Jammu’s cultural identity and pride, and deprive the local community of the commercial and employment opportunities emanating from its use as a socio-cultural center.
He further insisted that the sentiments and interests of the local communities were paramount and, therefore, decisions regarding the Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex need to be taken with complete transparency, in harmony with the aspirations of the people of Jammu, and in consultation with representatives of stakeholders, including the founding members of the society.