Kapurthala royal palace crumbling

The construction of the royal palace was completed in 1902 and since then the building and its French architecture and decor has been depicting the rich tastes of the erstwhile maharajas of Kapurthala.
But since they were unable to maintain the palace after Independence, it was sold by the royal family to the Punjab Government, which in turn handed it over to the Defence Ministry on lease basis for opening Sainik School in 1961.

But unlike other states, since no funds have been provided by the state government and there is no separate provision of funds for the maintenance of the building with the Defence Ministry, the royal building has been caving in gradually for the past about two decades and may prove dangerous for the students and the staff if it is not repaired immediately.

A round of the building revealed that the central dome of the building has got damaged and according to school authorities it may crumble any day if urgent measures are not taken. Seepage of water from the roof during rain is said to be the main cause of the problem. The seepage has also damaged the wooden flooring and beautiful pillars made of plaster of Paris. Moist conditions caused by the seepage have been adversely affecting the priceless articles in the school museum, especially the expensive paintings and beautiful frescos on the walls.
Col Manohar Prasad, Principal of the school, said the school had never received any grant from the state government for the repair of the building.{pagebreak}

'We have been writing to the state government for years and in fact, the Education Department had even agreed to provide Rs 2 crore for this purpose, but what we have received is a one time grant of Rs 50 lakh for infrastructural development,' he said, adding that all other state governments had been providing money for the maintenance of sainik school buildings.

'The Himachal Government has recently sanctioned Rs 41 lakh for Sujanpur Tira Sainik School.' He said after the visit of the Punjab Chief Minister to the school last year, the Chief Architect of the state had inspected the building but nothing followed thereafter.

Staff members and students pointed out that the deteriorating condition of the once beautiful building could prove to be fatal for them, while heritage lovers maintained that it would be the biggest blunder if the historical building was not saved by the government.

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