SGPC drive to conserve Sikh heritage structures on the cards

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2015 13:52 IST

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to launch a special drive to conserve all heritage structures, including gurdwaras, associated with Sikhism and are managed by the religious body.

The need for launching this drive was felt after the SGPC surveyed some of the historical structures and found that many of these needed to be repaired to prevent them from crumbling. Efforts will be made to conserve the originality of these structures while carrying out the repair work.

At a specially convened meeting of the SGPC's building committee in Chandigarh on Wednesday, the issue of preservation and conservation of heritage structures was taken up.

The committee was formed recently on the instructions of SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar. The committee members - SGPC senior vice-president Raghujit Singh Virk, general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, executive member Nirmal Singh Jaulla Kalan and additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi - discussed the issue at the meeting.

"The SGPC will seek the opinion of eminent conservationists and heritage experts for upkeep and maintenance of heritage structures, including historical gurdwaras. We want to maintain the originality of such structures while undertaking their repair," Bedi said in a press release issued here on Thursday.

The committee will focus on heritage structures inside the Golden Temple complex and at Takht Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib. It was observed in the meeting that some of these structures had lost sheen and need to be repaired. A few sustained damages over the years due to natural calamities.

The committee discussed a report prepared by a panel from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, regarding the maintenance of structures in the Golden Temple complex and at Takht Keshgarh Sahib. The report focused on the type of building material to be used for strengthening the heritage structures so that these do not need repair for another 100 years or so.

The work on preserving the Takht Keshgarh Sahib is currently being done by Baba Mohinder Singh of the United Kingdom (UK). He is performing the task through 'kar sewa'.

Kar sewaks cautioned
Meanwhile, the SGPC has made it clear to all those performing 'kar sewa' at its historical shrines that no alterations should be made to any of the heritage structures. The babas undertaking the 'kar sewa' have been asked to strictly follow the master plan of these heritage structures while carrying out minor or major repairs.

Makkar has already issued directions to the managers of all gurdwaras to ensure that no attempts be made to alter the originality of heritage structures.

The historical structures earmarked by the SGPC for immediate conservation and repair include gurdwara at Baba Bakala Sahib in Amritsar district, Baba Atal in Amritsar, Gurdwara Kand Sahib in Batala among others.

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