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Amritsar

Posted at: Dec 7, 2018, 1:16 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2018, 1:16 AM (IST)

MC seals 50 shops, establishments in city

Were constructed by breaking historic wall around old city; move aimed at protecting heritage monument

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 6

In a move to protect a heritage monument, the Municipal Corporation sealed 50 shops and commercial establishments, which constructed gates and shutter by breaking historic wall around old city.

The action was initiated by the estate wing (EO) and municipal town planning wing (MTP) of the civic body early in the morning. Teams led by senior officials, accompanied by the police, visited Lohgarh and Lahori gate areas. Several banks, ATMs booths and wine shops, which were operating from these establishments, were sealed during the drive.

Sushant Bahtia, estate officer, MC, said, “On the directions of MC Commissioner Sonali Giri, a team of the MTP and the EO wing conducted a joint operation today (Thursday) morning. A few residents resisted the move, but we warned them to face the consequences if they break the seals. The move will be continued till all encroachments on the ring road are removed.”

The Tribune recently highlighted the issue as people had encroached upon and damaged the 200-year-old historical wall of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh era. Residents claimed that 200-year-old wall was intact till 1980s.

In the recent years, several residents broke the wall and opened the shops toward the ring road. For the first time the MC has initiated action against the violators.

The Centre has conceptualised a plan to beautify the 7.5-km inner ring road with state-of-the-art street infrastructure, furniture and separate lanes to decongest the area under the Smart City project. However, executive officials of the project also want a encroachment-free ring road.

Efforts are being made for the restoration of heritage monuments of the city under the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY). Experts and residents want the entire wall around the city to be restored and preserved.

Recently, former Punjab minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla had written to the MC Commissioner and the Mayor regarding the preservation of the wall.

The construction of the wall was initiated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1821. The construction continued till the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839. It was completed during the reign of Sher Singh.

The Britishers removed the mud wall and reconstructed it with limestone powder in 1884. They reshaped the gates and constructed police posts along the gates. There are several residents who had memories that government had prohibited to break the wall.

With political intervention and negligence by the MC, residents damaged and encroached upon the wall.

About historic wall

  • The construction of the wall was initiated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1821. The construction continued till the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839. It was completed during the reign of Sher Singh. 
  • The Britishers removed the mud wall and reconstructed it with limestone powder in 1884. They reshaped the gates and constructed police posts along the gates. There are several residents who had memories that government had prohibited to break the wall.
  • With political intervention and negligence by the MC, residents damaged and encroached upon the wall. 

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