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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

160-year-old building razed in Amritsar for model railway station

The central ministry of railway has sanctioned ₹12 crore to transform the Amritsar railway station into a model railway station.

chandigarh Updated: Jun 09, 2019 12:32 IST
Mandeep Kaur Narula
Mandeep Kaur Narula
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Earlier, the heritage railway building served as a ticket booking counter and housed passengers’ waiting rooms.
Earlier, the heritage railway building served as a ticket booking counter and housed passengers’ waiting rooms.(Sameer Sehgal / Hindustan Times)
         

Work to demolish a 160 year-old building, which was part of the Amritsar Railway Station, in order to build a ‘model station’ has begun.

Back in the day, the building served as a ticket booking counter and housed passengers’ waiting rooms. However, it was in a dilapidated state and had been lying unoccupied for a while.

The central ministry of railway has sanctioned ₹12 crore to transform the Amritsar railway station into a model railway station, as it is point of arrival for hundreds of tourists, who visit the holy city to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.

The model station project was initiated in 2017 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Besides renovating the waiting hall, the station will have an improved circulating area, information displaying mediums and lighting.

Though the central government and state governments are making efforts to preserve historic and heritage buildings under the Heritage Rejuvenation Infrastructure Development Augmentation Yojana scheme, the government could not preserve the railways’ heritage building. Buildings slated to be preserved, include the 12 gates, chaali Khooh (40 wells), the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Ram Bagh garden.

Kulwant Singh Ankhi, patron of the Amritsar Vikas Manch, a city-based NGO said, “Authorities are ruining heritage sites in the city. What is the point of providing a heritage look to the building if the authorities cannot preserve the original buildings and architecture? Despite the ongoing project, the railway station lacks basic facilities and just constructing new buildings will not make it into a model station.”

Station director Amrit Singh on Saturday said the ancient building was unsafe and could not have been completely preserved. “The building and its roof were on the verge of collapse and could not be repaired. We had already cordoned off the building and the rooms were only being used to house construction material. However, we have preserved parts of the old building and will convert them into a museum,” he said.

A PEAK INTO HISTORY

Construction of the Amritsar railway station was started in 1859. It was an example of brick masonry and horse-shoe type arches.

The building, which was completed in 1862, helped to connect the two most important cities of Punjab — Amritsar and Lahore (now in Pakistan) and was the first railway in Punjab. The Multan-Lahore-Amritsar line was completed in 1865.

However, the city railway station is one of the busiest railway stations of the state.

First Published: Jun 09, 2019 12:32 IST

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