Dastgeer Sahab Shrine reconstruction hits first roadblock

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 9/16/2012 1:41:44 AM

We haven’t finalised any reconstruction plan so far: JKPCC MD

Srinagar, Sept 15: The reconstruction of over 200-year-old shrine of Peer Dastgeer Sahab (RA) in Khanyar area today faced first road block when local residents objected the move of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to remove the rubble from the shrine to begin the work.
Eyewitnesses said local residents assembled near the shrine when INTACH team visited the spot to start the work. They expressed apprehensions that whether the present gutted walls of the shrine would be able to resist pressure of new construction. The residents apprehended that present gutted walls of the shrine are very weak and they would fell down once the new reconstruction is made over them.
Some people suggested RCC material should be used for reconstruction of the shrine. Some came up with bizarre proposals. A person said that impure water has been used to extinguish fire that engulfed shrine in June this year. All this, he argued, makes it necessary to construct new building instead of raising the building on present walls.
Another person insisted that if new RCC construction is made after 100 years it would be also a heritage building.
The INTACH team had two hour long discussion with contractors. During the discussion residents were apprised about repair and reconstruction plan.
The government has allotted contract for the restoration work to JKPCC. Waqaf Board and INTACH would be the supervising agencies. Restoration of the shrine would cost Rs 6 crore.
The INTACH has submitted its proposal for restoration of shrine to the committee of experts comprising Chief Engineer R&B, Managing Director JKPCC, the Waqaf Board and other officials.
According to the proposal modern technologies like ‘Guintoring’ should be used in its restoration and it will strengthen the structure. The proposal also called for shifting of the road by about 60 feet away from the shrine.
However, JKPCC Managing Director Madan Mohan Sharma said so far no proposal has been finalised. “The reconstruction will only start when we will have some proposal. We have only started removing rubble from the shrine,” he said.
“The JKPCC is executing agency and once any proposal for reconstruction would be finalised by the Chief Engineer R&B and the Waqaf Board we will start the work,” Sharma said.
The Chief Engineer R&B Department didn’t pick up phone despite repeated calls.
The shrine was gutted in a devastating fire in June this year. The Holy Relic of the Dastgeer Sahab (RA) shrine was safely retrieved from the fire-proof vault inside the shrine. The blaze, however, destroyed antique chandeliers and invaluable wood carving panels of the shrine. The fire also destroyed entire old wooden structure that housed the mausoleum.
Soon after the incident the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah issued orders for preparing an action plan to recreate the shrine of Peer Dastgeer akin to its original design and architecture.



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