Junaid Manzoor/Rajah Asim
SRINAGAR: Walking in darkness to admire historical artifacts is not what most people would prefer but at famed Sri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum at Lal Mandi in Srinagar the visitors are constrained to grope in darkness as power supply eludes them quite often.
“The museum artifacts were shifted to a new building from the old Dogra-era mansion after the 2014 floods and are currently displayed in five different galleries,” an SPS museum official said. “Since it’s the sole heritage site in the Valley, uninterrupted power supply is necessary here. We can’t start the generator every time there is a power cut. With visitors inside, it doesn’t seem feasible,” he said.
Museum curator Rabia called the power issue at the museum of “prime importance that needs to be addressed”.
“We witness power cuts on a regular basis. Though we try to keep the premises as illuminated as we can, but it is not possible for the generator and inverter to light up the entire expansive building. It is a heritage site, it deserves to have a hotline with 24-hour service. We have time and again requested the power department to address the issue but to no avail,” she said.
Executive engineer Power Development Department (PDD) Aijaz Dar conceded that requests have been received for providing a hotline to the museum but the initiative has not been taken due to budget constraints. “We cannot provide them the essential power services until they release the funds,” he said.
Director, department of Archives, Architecture and Museums, Mohammad Shafi Zahid said the semles power supply to the museum was required to keep the artifacts on display in limelight and catchy for the visitors. WE must take measures so that the artifacts in the museum don’t gather dust in dark,” he said.
He said there was no financial constraint for getting round-the-clock power supply for the museum except that the PDD was not interested in laying the infrastructure for it. “We are not budget deficit. When the government could spend Rs 65 crore for the Museum building’s construction, getting an essential service is not a big deal. The PDD officials don’t want to provide the facility and they are making lame excuses on account of financial constraints,” he told Kashmir Reader.