The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to restore the house of freedom fighter and martyr Sukhdev Thapar at Noughara Mohalla within four months using Rs. 81 lakh provided by the central government for this purpose.
In an order passed on August 30, the HC directed the government that All India Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust, which has been managing the Thapar's house till January 2012, should also be associated in the restoration work.
Thapar's house is situated in an area near Chaura Bazaar and is surrounded by narrow lanes.
The Punjab government had taken over the house for maintenance in January, 2012, following which the trust knocked the HC door to get it back.
However, after more than a year, overlooking the the trust's demand of the Thapar's house possession, the court asked the government to rope in the trust in the restoration work.
"An affidavit has been filed in the court on behalf of the respondent (the Punjab government) stating that the Government of India has sanctioned Rs. 3.24 crore to it for the conservation and preservation of the protected monuments, of which Rs. 81 lakh is to be spent on the Thapar's house restoration," the court noted while disposing off the writ petition by the trust.
"The archaeology department is stated to have already been taken the conservation work, as the tender for preparing a detailed project report (DPR) is finalised. Consultants have been entrusted with the task of preparing the DPR," the court noted.
Interestingly, a committee too was formed in May 31 comprising two government officials and the president of the trust to take care of the house. Since then, several meetings held to discuss possible measures to restore the house.
The high court, in its ruling, categorically mentioned: "We call upon the respondents to ensure that the restoration work is carried out at the earliest, preferably within four months, and in view of the composition of the committee, the petitioner trust would be kept associated."
Welcomed the ruling, the trust stated that it was in the interest of the house. President of the trust Ashok Thapar said the government should immediately start renovation work so that the house could be restored.
He also said that a direct pathway from Chaura Bazaar should be laid down so that visitors could come directly to the house avoiding crowded lanes.
Tribhuvan Thapar, press secretary of the trust, said the roof of the house was in a dilapidated condition that required immediate renovation. He urged the Punjab government to provide sanitation facility at the site so that more and more people could come to the house.