Ending the tussle over possession of the 120-year-old Maharaja Ranjit Singh Fort at Phillaur and the Punjab Police Academy, the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) and the Punjab government have signed an agreement that though the possession of the fort would remain with the state government, its maintenance and upkeep would be the ASI's responsibility.
The information was submitted in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday. The ASI had been giving the Punjab government the option that it (government) could use the fort without raising any further construction and modification, and the ASI would be maintaining the fort. But the state government was not agreeing to it.
The ASI, through a notification issued on September 7, 2011, had declared the fort a monument of national importance and had written to the state director general of police, requesting him to hand over the fort to the ASI as it wanted to start conservation work soon. However, the state police were of the view that it had been using the fort since 1891 and the fort accommodated its premier police academy.
If the fort is declared a national monument, it would not only hamper the training process but also be a compromise with its security, the state police had informed the court earlier.
But the central government's senior standing counsel Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu told the division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Wednesday that the state government and the ASI had recently signed the agreement that conservation of the fort would be done by the ASI and the state police could continue with its possession.