Restoration of Heritage Sites – Latest News from Jammu and Kashmir | Tourism

Having felt the need to take stock of the current status of various heritage sites in Jammu and Kashmir and how sooner rather than later most of them needed to be renovated, repaired and a few probably saved of their parts ceding due to dilapidated condition, the UT government has identified 35 of these sites for a program of “restoration”. It is not entirely unhelpful to mention that successive state governments have failed to have this important aspect of our glorious past to attract due attention and therefore prioritize in the sense that small beginnings in this regard would have made it possible to effectively restore many sites. As is well enough known, Jammu and Kashmir has its own particular and varied cultural, social, historical, architectural and religious significance of the past embodied and projected through these sites, there are undoubtedly more than 35 of these sites across UT but even if the 35 selected are restored as planned, UT can claim to be among the states and UTs that place importance on heritage to be restored, preserved and passed on to future generations. In addition, we could present them with the aim of promoting tourism and providing enough material for historians, scholars, researchers and others who wish to know more about the particular and significant importance of these sites, therefore about the period of their construction, so that more is known to them and worked out by the people. Further, in this regard, an initiative having been taken by the administration of UT and hence having selected 18 such sites in Jammu division and 17 in Kashmir division for revival, restoration, preservation and maintenance plus sanction having been granted for their restoration is a commendable step in the right direction. However, the Executive Committee set up for this purpose having given its approval to the noble but important project and nearly two months having passed since then, no development has been observed on the ground for reasons better known to the Department of Archives, Archeology and Museums concerned. The rainy season has already set in and usually the delicate restoration work obviously cannot be started while in a few sites messing with the structures during the current season could cause problems instead of any gain at those sites. However, ancillary works such as access roads, public facilities, landscaping, lighting, signage, etc. could be launched for which all the procedural formalities must be completed quickly, if this has not already been done. Heritage advice is crucial for such restoration work and since this is unlikely to be available within UT it could be outsourced for which administrative instructions have already been issued. Once these services have been identified/selected, the details of the works to be undertaken in each of the identified sites could be finalised, followed by the usual tendering process. We believe that since the nature of the work towards the ambitious project is unique to the architecture and manufacturing of each site, various formalities and procedural requirements that are meant to take their own time should be expedited. At the cost of repetitions, that all the formalities, administrative formalities, the bidding process, the sanctions and the decisions related to the management of the funds are completed during the current rainy season so that, at the latest in September of this year, the restoration work really begins.

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