Old secretariat premises turn into junkyard, heritage building vulnerable

Old secretariat premises turn into junkyard, heritage building vulnerable
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SRINAGAR: A heritage site within the premises of old secretariat has been overtaken by heaps of garbage and condemned material thrown away by directorates of health and social welfare. The condemned material is posing a grave threat to the heritage building and its premises and despite reminders from directorate of archives and archaeology, the site is not being cleared from rotten furniture, card-boards, steel cabinets and old dysfunctional vehicles.
The inflammable refuse is lying closer to monument ceremonial, a reminiscent of Dogra era when the area was part of the despotic rulers’ secretariat.
In September 2014 when devastating floods hit the Kashmir valley, the estates department dumped flood-affected articles in front of the building constructed in wood and stones. The building has been declared state protected monument as per Ancient Monument Preservation Act Samvat 1977. The worn out vehicles, according to the officials of archives, archaeology and museums, have been parked from over a decade.
MS Zahid, Director Archives, archaeology and museums told Kashmir Reader that the department consistently registered its concern with the departments, which have encroached upon the vital space. “None of the departments responded to our letters wherein we explained the gravity of situation arisen in the presence of flood affected articles and worn out vehicles,” he said.
The department explained to the concerned directorates that in the presence of heaps of garbage the department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, was not able to execute the pending works of over 100 year old ceremonial constructed during the Dogra rule.
“This office has already requested to your goodself to lift the flood affected stored articles from the Old Secretariat premises wide letter NO. DDAMA-500-01/PM-57 dated 10-02-2016 with the chain of reminders,” reads the letter shot to deputy director of estates department.
“Kindly lift all flood-affected stored articles from the archives premises for its security and safety as the office is highly sensitive as far as the records housed in it are of great importance, and the same time the pending work of the ceremonial (monuments) may be started by the executing agency accordingly, the letter reads.
Similarly, a letter shot to director health services Kashmir reads that the department had initiated the fencing around the premises of the monument but the work has been suspended by the executing agency citing the vehicles parked by the health department. “The parking of the (condemned) vehicles and other encroachment is violation of ancient monuments Preservation Act,” reads the letter adding that the director health was requested not to park vehicles inside the premises of the monument and three off-road may be removed immediately so that work of fencing of the monument is started to restore the original glory of the monument.
Tasadaq Jeelani, director estates and Saleemur Rehman, director health did not respond to the calls of this reporter despite repeated attempts.