The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report on ‘Preservation and conservation of monuments and antiquities’ has pointed to the dilapidated condition of five protected monuments in Ferozepur district of Punjab.
The report, which was presented in Parliament last month, had pointed out that five monuments commemorating the Anglo-Sikh battles were notified, de-notified and re-notified as protected monuments of national importance. In 2006, these were identified again for central protection, but the monuments continue to be in a dilapidated condition.
The audit para on ‘Unauthorised conservation works by external organisations’ in the CAG report reads: “Repeated notification and de-notification of sites in some cases had been done without any recorded reasons. Five monuments commemorating the Anglo-Sikh wars fought in 19th century at Mudki, Sabraon, Saragarhi, Ferozeshah and Misriwala in Ferozepur, Punjab, were earlier in the list of protected monuments of national importance as declared in November 1918. Subsequently, they were de-protected by the ASI on April 13, 1927, and May 22, 1962, for reasons not available on record.”
In 2006, the ASI identified these five monuments again for central protection but took no further action, it said.
A visit to the Anglo-Sikh war memorial in Ferozepur reveals the ramshackle condition the complex is in. The roof leaks during rain and causes damage to precious belongings inside.
Rare paintings of the four battles at Mudki, Ferozeshah, Sabraon and Chellianwala made by renowned artist Kirpal Singh had faded due to apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned.
Ferozepur deputy commissioner Manjit Singh Narang said a plan to give a facelift to the Saragarhi memorial had been approved and the required no-objection certificate has been provided to the Punjab tourism director.