History & Culture

Clamour for entrusting Kalai restoration to ASI gets shriller

SRINAGAR

Civil Society Kathi Darwaza demanded entrusting the restoration of historic Kalai in Shahr-e-Khaas to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Prominent RTI activist and patron of Civil Society Kathi Darwaza, Dr Mushtaq Khan accused the Tourism department of using “substandard” material to repair the 16th century structure, reports Greater Kashmir.

“Days after repairs of the wall, it started to develop cracks. Ironically, the Tourism department treated the restoration of the historic wall as a mere civil work and violated the principles of maintaining historical monuments,” Dr Khan said.

“Over Rs 13 crore have been spent so far on repair of the wall and Hari Parbat Fort overlooking it. Use of substandard material is evident from the debris of the collapsed wall. At many portions, the Tourism department has vandalized the wall by decreasing its height and width to embezzle money meant for its restoration. We demand a probe into the matter by the Vigilance Organization and stern punishment to the accused officials, he said.

Dr Khan said the crumbling wall is posing serious risk to locals. “We appeal the Government to entrust the restoration of Kalai to the Archeological Survey of India which has expertise in protection of heritage structures. We will launch a campaign to protect this monument,” he said.

The state government declared the Kalai a protected monument in 2010. The 4.75 km Kalai snakes through the heels of Koh-e-Maran in Shaher-e-Khaas. The area inhabited in Kalai interiors is known as Kalai Ander.

Historians believe that during the Mughal era when emperor Akbar and his royal family constructed this wall, it was difficult for people to even the touch the royal creation without permission. However, due to official apathy the historic wall is on the verge of extinction.

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