150-yr old dispensary in old city to be preserved, DC promises conservation

150-yr old dispensary in old city to be preserved, DC promises conservation
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Srinagar: Chief Minster’s Grievance Cell on Tuesday took cognisance of proposed demolition of 150-year-old dispensary, constructed by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1865, in old city without the knowledge of the department of archives, archaeology and museums, and the health department. The report about the dispensary was carried by Kashmir Reader.
Following the cognisance of CM’s grievance cell Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, along with the officials of the Roads and Buildings (R&B), Archives, Archaeology & Museums, and the Health departments visited the site to know the status of the depilated building. Two members of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) constituted by the Deputy Commissioner to sketched the building.
Shah, in his surprise visit, ordered INTACH to finish the sketching process in a week based on the previous architect of the building constructed by Maharaja Ranbir Singh. “INTACH will sketch the design of the building within a week. The outer design of the building shall remain same in order to preserve the architecture of the building,” Shah directed INTACH members in presence of the members of Beopaar Mandal of Maharaj Gunj, adding, “You (INTACH) will submit the designs to R&B department so that they execute the revival work.”
The reconstructed dispensary would serve a ten bed health centre for the residents of downtown. The building was declared unsafe after 2014 floods by R&B Department and the dispensary was made functional in makeshift tin-rooms in a local park nearby.
Earlier during officials of Archives, Archaeology & Museums and INTACH team visited the site and requested the local residents to halt the demolition, but local residents did not allow them to stop knocking down of the heritage building.
Local residents, due to miscommunication, lead to the apprehension that government might not reconstruct the 150 year old dispensary but will preserve the depilated structure that lead to the exchange of heating arguments with INTACH members. However, the deputy commissioner informed the people that government was not going to stop the construction but will reconstruct it. “It is my dream that the project gets completed in my tenure as the District Magistrate of Srinagar as I want to inaugurate the heritage health centre as I have grown here in downtown,” he told them adding, “I’m ready to give my blood to you people and it is my word.”
Shah then conducted the meeting with the Beopaar Mandal to know the status of the area and business. He informed Nazir Ahmad Shah, Chairman Beopaar Mandal Maharaj Gunj that there was a gap between government authorities and the residents of the old city. “I’m here to bridge that gap so that the area witnesses development,” he said.
The DC said the district administration was keen on offering all possible support to the old city and called on the representatives to help bridge the gap between them and the administration.
Shah also visited the surrounding areas of this historic centre of trade in Srinagar. The visit was highly appreciated by the locals who assured the DC of offering their full support to the administration for the development of the area.

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