Heritage suffers, administration goes slow

At a time when the government is mulling a facelift for Qaiserbagh heritage zone, other historically important monuments in the Old City are clamouring for attention.

The authorities concerned, however, have not yet moved beyond meetings and letters.

Yet again, in a letter issued recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has asked the district administration to regulate traffic along Roomi Darwaza so that renovation work could be undertaken.

“We have written to the administration to stop the traffic movement along the road. We need to install scaffoldings to start repair work, which cannot be done with the heavy traffic,” PK Mishra, superintending archaeologist, ASI said.

Cracks started surfacing on the main arch of this 18th century marvel 14 years ago but any plan mooted for its conservation failed to take off for want of traffic diversion.

“On an average we have sent one letter in this regard to the district administration every month,” Mishra added.

As an alternate traffic route, the road behind the Teele Wali Masjid on the other side of the gate could be used but the administration has been unable to enforce diversions along it.

They reason the Imam of the mosque is averse to the idea, citing threat to its structure.

“If the administration decides against the Imam, the issue threatens to assume religious tones. Though the court has allowed the district administration to decide on the matter, we are in a fix because we also have to maintain law and order,” an administrative official said.

Besides the ASI protected Roomi Darwaza, Nawabi era structures that are under the jurisdiction of the Hussainabad and Allied Trusts (HAT) too are suffering for want of attention.

Take for example, the Hussainabad gates of the Chhota Imambara, a portion of which collapsed on Saturday.

In the 175th year of its formation, the Imambara, also called the Hussainabad Imambara, stands neglected.

Both of its splendid gates, on the eastern and western sides, are nearing ruination while the campus remains encroached.

Experts say the main reason for the deteriorating condition of monuments under the custody of HAT is the trust itself.

“All the encroachments have been given legal possession by the trust. They can’t ask them to leave the possession,” an administrative official said. District magistrate is the chairman of HAT.


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