Gurgaon: Activists vow campaign to save Badshahpur stepwell
The site, say activists, has been turned into a landfill and has fallen into acute disrepairUpdated: Feb 26, 2018 23:12 IST
A group of social activists, art lovers and academicians visited the more-than-a-century-old baoli (stepwell) at Badshahpur on Monday in a bid to mobilise a campaign to preserve the historic piece of architecture for posterity. The campaign would involve locals and students and would be aimed at raising general awareness on the heritage structure.
Locals said that the stepwell, which goes back more than a hundred years, is used for unauthorised dumping of solid waste and sewerage and claimed that workers associated with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) have also been filling the well with soil and garbage.
Locals said Huda acquired the plot where the stepwell was built three years ago to complete a road project in Sector 67. Later, officials of the road engineering department allowed filling of the stepwell.
Parul Garg Munjal, associate professor, Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Ansal University, Gurgaon, led a team of activists to the 100-year-old stepwell on Monday.
“Our faculty conducted a research on this piece of architecture in 2005. We were shocked to see the mess that the stepwell is in at present. It has been badly damaged and has been turned into an illegal landfill, as the site has been acquired to build a sector road. This stepwell goes back more than a hundred years and was built by a wealthy resident of the village to preserve water for benefit of fellow villagers. The site also offered refuge to people travelling to Delhi and Jaipur at the time. We believe that this heritage structure should be preserved for future generations. Despite the damage wrought to it, the stepwell still holds traces of its charm and grandeur. Often, students compare this structure to five-star hotels, equipped with plush rooms and a swimming pool. We have decided to take the onus of preserving this stepwell. We will clean it and stop sewer discharge into it. We are encouraged by the support we have received from the students and residents here. We’re all united in our bid to save this piece of heritage from being destroyed,” Munjal said.
The stepwell was built in 1905 by a Badshahpur landlord for preserving water and sheltering pilgrims and travellers between Delhi and Jaipur.
Professor Gauhar Mehmood, head of the department (HoD), civil engineering, at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, who visited the stepwell a week ago, said, “In Gurgaon, heritage structures are few and far between and the ones which are there are gathering dust or showing signs of wear and tear. This stepwell has been a subject of research and I urge the government to preserve it for posterity.”
“There are two stepwells in Gurgaon. The other one, at Dhumaspur, is around 700 years old. That one, too, is on the brink of destruction for want of proper upkeep. I have been waging a battle to save the two stepwells,” Balraj Bhadana, a social activist, said.
Yashpal Yadav, administrator, Huda, Gurgaon, said that he has issued an order to stop filling the stepwell for the road project.
“After being informed about the heritage associated with this stepwell, I stopped it from being used as a landfill. I am trying my best to save it,” Yadav said.
First Published: Feb 26, 2018 23:12 IST