SMC commissioner not aware that the 16th-century Kallai is a ‘protected monument’
SRINAGAR: The Kallai, a 4.3 km long wall built by Mughal emperor Akbar along the Hari Parbat hill in the centre of Srinagar, has seen no conservation despite being declared a protected monument six years ago. The centuries-old wall was originally 4.3 km in length. Years of vandalisation had destroyed 826 metres of it and damaged another 719 metres, according to a survey done by the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH). To protect it from further destruction, the state declared it a protected monument under the JK Ancient Monument Protection Act.
As per the Act, all construction made within 100 meters of the wall before 1992 had to be relocated, and the construction done after that year had to be demolished. Neither any demolition nor any relocation has taken place. The state of the Kallai is still what it was before it was declared as a protected monument.
Within 100 meters of the wall that is by law a no-construction area, numerous residential colonies exist. The government has not even demolished its own structures in this radius. At many places across the wall there are many government schools and also a division of the water works department, all intact and functional.
The 16th-century watchtowers that were built at regular intervals within the Kallai are now either missing or partially destroyed. They now serve as a habitation for dogs.
In-charge Srinagar Municipal Corporation Commissioner Shafaqat Khan told Kashmir Reader that he was not aware of the protected status of the Kallai. He said he will look at the records to know the status and act accordingly.
“Kallai is an important historic monument in the city. I will do whatever I can to ensure its protection. Let me read the Act and the orders first,” he said.