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Restoration of Sheesh Mahal in Royal City stops midway due to lack of funds

Funds released by 13th Financial Commission have exhausted, state to take up matter with the Union govt

punjab Updated: Feb 04, 2018 14:04 IST
Patiala,Captain Amarinder Singh,Royal City
The restoration is being undertaken under the supervision of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage.(Bharat Bhushan/HT)

The restoration work of one of the renown palaces in the Royal City, Sheesh Mahal, has stopped midway due to fund crunch. The palace, which had secured its place in the history over the time, is now lying in a shambles.

A few years back, a team from the Archaeological Survey of India had prepared a report on Sheesh Mahal and Qila Mubarak’s state. Following this, the Centre, in its 13th Finance Commission, had approved Rs 45 crore for Patiala, out of Rs 100 crore earmarked for Punjab to restore its historical places.

The approved amount for restoration work in Patiala included Rs 38 crore for Qila Mubarak and Rs 7 crore for Sheesh Mahal, but the projects are far from completion till date.

Department of cultural affairs and archaeology director Shivdular Singh Dhillon, while confirming the same, said, “The work will be restarted soon. It is currently in a standby due to shortage of funds. The funds released by Centre have exhausted. The matter is under consideration at the government-level. The state government will take a final call soon.”

A damaged cannon on the premises of the Sheesh Mahal in Patiala on Saturday. (HT photo)

Meanwhile, during a check at the Sheesh Mahal, it came to fore that the work pertaining to renovation, which was in its initial phases, has not proceeded from the past two months.

An official at the Sheesh Mahal, on condition of anonymity, said, “The work is in limbo since past two months. The contractor, who was assigned the renovation work here, left the work midway as his previous dues have still not been cleared by the authorities concerned.”

Punjab govt marked inquiry last year

Last year, the state government had marked an inquiry into the use of the funds that were received from Centre for the renovation of historical places — Qila Mubarak and Sheesh Mahal — as the finance department suspected bungling of the funds by the previous SAD-BJP (Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party) government.

In the inquiry, it was found that the government had diverted the funds sanctioned for restoration work to other projects during the sangat darshan by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Due to this, the work was delayed.

Also, the work of Sheesh Mahal and Qila Mubarak restoration was underway, but the officials concerned had not released payments of contractors working on the project since November, 2016. The restoration is being undertaken under the supervision of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the department of tourism and cultural affairs, Punjab.

National team visited Qila Mubarak in 2013

A two-member team of the National Culture Fund (NCF) had visited Qila Mubarak in August, 2013, to prepare a detailed report on the steps to be taken to restore the historical place.

The team was set up by the ministry of human resource development’s department of culture, under the Charitable Endowments Act of 1890, to promote and preserve India’s tangible and intangible heritage, in partnership with the community.

First Published: Feb 04, 2018 14:02 IST