October, 2015

LMC Should Set Up A Heritage Cell

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Credits : HT

Satkhanda is not the only Nawabi era monument that needs attention. Lucknow, which is known for its rich heritage, has more than 600 unprotected monuments including palatial mansions, maqbaras, gardens and gateways that are lying in neglect. Heritage enthusiasts say Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) should replicate the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s initiative of constituting a heritage cell to ensure maintenance of unprotected monuments.

Musabagh, Clock Tower, Maqbaraof Hakeem Mehndi, Misra Bandhuo ki haveli, Butler Palace, Rifa-e-Aam Club, Imambada of AbuTalib Khan, Jawahar Ali Khan house and gateway, Gol Darwaza, Qadam Rasool, Polier’s house and Polier Gunj – the list of unprotected monuments seems to be long.

“The city is not only restricted to the protected monuments. It has over 600 monuments that reflect its rich past and unmatchable heritage,” said Yogesh Praveen, an author who has penned several books based on Lucknow’s rich heritage. If nothing is done, the unprotected monuments will soon be lost into oblivion, said Praveen.

Other than the unprotected monuments, the city has around 59 heritage structures that are on the protection list of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) while around 15 are on the list of UP State Archaeological Department (UPSAD).

ASI officials said some monuments in the state capital got the ‘protected’ status in 1919 and 1920, but after that the list was never revised.

City-based heritage enthusiasts too demanded the revision of ASI’s protection list.

“The ASI should revise the protection list as it could be a boon in keeping the anti-social elements at bay,” said S Mohammed Haider, a heritage activist from the city. Haider termed the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) as an ideal corporation when it came to the preservation of unprotected monuments. “The cell is doing well as its basically giving protection to the unprotected monuments, hence saving the city’s heritage,” he added. The AMC constituted a heritage cell in 1996 to ensure preservation of all the unprotected heritage sites. Officials with AMC said out of 10,000 heritage sites, Ahmedabad has around 54 ASI-protected and three state-protected monuments. “Ahmedabad has a rich heritage and our cell is making best possible efforts to preserve the heritage sites,” said Vasudevan Nair, deputy general manager, heritage cell, AMC.

He said the AMC ensures the maintenance of heritage buildings. “After the 2001 earthquake that damaged a good number of heritage monuments, we ensured the maintenance of most of the damaged monuments, bringing them back to life,” Nair added.

LMC, however, hailed the suggestion of constituting a heritage cell. “It’s a good suggestion, which could be replicated here. I would be requesting the tourism department as well to join us in the initiative and also to play an active role in the revival of the city’s rich heritage,” said PK Srivastava, additional municipal commissioner.