The Aam Khas Bagh, which was once a tourist attraction in the city, lies in shambles waiting for repair and maintenance for the past many years.
The Maulsari Aam Khas Bagh restaurant which used to serve as a weekend haunt for families that visted the historical buildings of the Aam Khas Bagh has also become non-functional. It is now an abandoned building with broken windowpanes and damaged washrooms.
Sources said the restaurant was built at a cost of around rs2 crore. It was shut down in 2010 on orders from the district administration. But, now the heritage site falls under the control of the Punjab tourism department.
The state wanted to utilise two acre of the 42-acre heritage site to build a circuit house the same year, which never came up. According to sources, the central government sanctioned rs 1.7 crore for the heritage site's renovation in March 2010, but nothing was done about it.
The Aam Khas Bagh was initially built by Mughal emperor Babur and later rebuilt by Shah Jahan along the Grand Trunk Road.During the Mughal period, royal couples travelling to or from Lahore halted here.
In 2012, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had given his approval to constitute a committee for preparing a detailed plan for the revival of the Aam Khas Bagh. Yet again, no restoration work was carried out.
A senior officer, on condition of anonymity, said that the local administration had sent a proposal to the Punjab government for restoring the site to. But, it remained in the pipe line.
The source also said the government shut down the restaurant in spite of it doing good business.
However, Punjab tourism minister Sohan Singh Thandal said they had already planned the revival of the historical building and that the project was in the pipeline.
He added that setting up of an arts and crafts centre there was also being considered.
Vivek Kumar, a local resident, said that residents were currently using the space for morning and evening walks. He said visitors still visited the place and wondered why the government shut down the restaurant even when it drew crowds.