Historic gates show signs of defacement

Historic gates show signs of defacement

Posters and banners deface Gate Khazana in Amritsar on Sunday. Photo: Sunil Kumar

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 19

The historic gates within the walled city, which were restored last year, have started showing signs of defacement.

Banners and buntings installed on these gates is clear a violation of the law protecting heritage monuments and other installations. Such publicity material not only defaces historic architecture but also blocks their view. These gates were restored with a grant of Rs 5.5 crore, which was approved by the Central Government in August 2018 and tenders were floated in December 2018.

Heritage conservationist Gurmit Rai, who was part of the restoration work, said the Hall Gate, Hathi Gate, Lahori Gate, Gate Khazana and Gate Hakima and Sultanwind Road, were restored and their interiors beautified last year.

“Incidents of petty theft like some unknown persons decamping with door handles are a cause for concern. She said the British had pulled down all 12 gates, except Ram Bagh, as they controlled the city after annexing Punjab.

She said the reconstructed gates were specimen of colonial architecture. “Their architecture resembles that of the Town Hall in the city,” she said. Heritage lovers and conservationists demand that people and agencies of the local government should come forward to conserve these.

Gates are the only vestiges left of the once-fortified holy city. As per the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997, nobody can deface public or private property by pasting posters, writing on the walls, wall paintings or putting up banners without the prior written permission of the owner of concerned. The violations under the act are cognizable and punishable with imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both.

Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu said the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) wished to hand over these restored heritage structures to a private agency with a proven track record in handling heritage buildings. He added that steps would be taken to make these structures economically self sustaining.

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