Over seven months after the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the state government to initiate renovation work on the ancestral house of martyr Sukhdev Thapar by December 31, 2013, the state’s archaeology department finally began work on Wednesday.
The house, which is located at Naughara Mohalla near Chaura Bazaar in old city, was taken over by the state government in January 2012.
The All India Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust, which earlier used to take care of the house, had thereafter moved the high court (HC) against the decision of the state government and the matter remained sub judice for over a year. It was only on May 31, 2013, that the house was re-opened on the directions of the HC for maintenance by the state’s archaeology department.
Later, while disposing of the trust’s writ petition on August 30, 2013, the HC had stated that the central government had sanctioned 3.24 crore for conservation and preservation of protected monuments, out of which 81 lakh were sanctioned for the house of Sukhdev Thapar.
The court had also directed the authorities, including the district administration and department of archaeology, that renovation work should be initiated within four months (December 31, 2013).
But, it is only over three months after the deadline, that the department of archaeology started work to cement the walls and carry out minor repairs on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the All India Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust has come out against the manner of working and claimed that they were not even informed that work would start at the site on Wednesday.
Trust president Ashok Thapar said workers suddenly came in the morning and started working inside the house.
“We have requested the deputy commissioner to at least provide us details of the work to be carried out at the site. The trust has taken care of the house for long and thus has the right to know about the work going on,” Thapar said.
Trust’s press secretary Tribhuvan Thapar said funds had been released by the central government to renovate the house. “Though the department has started the work, care should be taken to retain its originality. The archaeology department should tell us about the repair work to be carried out, so that we can help them preserve the originality of the house,” he added.
Sources said the caretaker of the ancestral house deputed by the archaeology department received a phone call that workers should be allowed to enter the house to carry out repair work on Wednesday.