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Anglo-Sikh war memorials suffer from gross negligence

April 21, 2012 by Raakhi Jagga Source: www.indianexpress.com

 Crores spent on various memorials but there are hardly any sign of maintenance

memorial (23K)Even after spending Rs 4.07 crore on the upkeep of various monuments in Ferozepur, condition of the Anglo-Sikh War memorial of 1845, located on the banks of Ferozeshah canal, has gone from bad to worse.

The memorial, which was dedicated to the nation by the then Chief Minister Giani Zail Singh in April 1976, also serves as a museum. However, for the last 30 years no renovation work of the museum has been done. The rare paintings have faded while the weapons restored from the war have lost their sheen. The museum instead serves more as a dating centre for youngsters.The green belt around the memorial is no more green as the gardener, who was employed to take care it, died and the administration is yet to appoint his replacement. There is no arrangement to water the plants, and broken pots and thick growth of weeds cover the entrance of museum.

A year and a half ago, the then DC Kamal Kishore Yadav had sent a proposal seeking Rs 30 lakh from the tourism department for the repair works, but nothing came. The incumbent DC, S Karuna Raju, however, refuses to get involved. “The museum is under tourism department, so I cannot comment upon its condition,” he said.

Similar memorials related to Anglo-Sikh wars at Mudki and Mishriwala are lying in a wretched condition.

At Mishriwala village, where the government has spent Rs 30.81 lakh for renovation works, heaps of cattle dung greet people at the entrance of the memorial site. The memorial at Mudki, where Rs 23.68 was spent for renovation, the village panchayat has been maintaining it. But they don’t have facility to water the plants.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Secretary, Tourism and Cultural affairs, Dr Kamaljeet Singh Sra said that he would be soon visiting the place to take a stock of the situation. “I can understand the plight of the memorials as there has been no plan to maintain the sites. There is also a shortage of staff. I am visiting various sites of Punjab and will be chalking out plans for their better upkeep,” Sra said.


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