Old building lost in kar seva

The 'kar seva' was entrusted to the Baba by the SGPC recently. However, a wall of the structure was saved due to timely intervention by archive lovers. Baba Jagtar Singh says the ancient building dates back to the times of Guru Hargobind Singh. The Guru, he says, monitored the construction of the octagonal tower from this place. Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the 'barah dari' constructed at this place about two centuries ago.

The 'barah dari' is situated to the south of the Golden Temple, about 135 metres from Sarai Guru Ram Das. Mr Balwinder Singh, Reader and Head Guru Ram Das School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University, says digging for reconstruction of the building may pose a threat to the building adjoining Baba Atal – the tallest building in the holy city. The building is a nine-storeyed octagonal tower, standing 40 metres. Mr Brij Bedi, an art lover, laments that during the demolition murals and art workswere also destroyed.

Dr Sheharyar, an eminent Punjabi writer, condemning the demolition of the historic building, says the SGPC has failed to protect the rich Sikh heritage. Baba Jagtar Singh argues that the building had to be demolished as it was unsafe. Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, secretary, SGPC says the building will be re-constructed with old bricks (Nanakshahi bricks) with the help of photographs of the demolished building.

Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former jathedar of Akal Takht, says it is a matter of concern that the SGPC had destroyed a precious building. Mr Amarjit Singh, organising secretary, Amritsar Vikas Manch, who runs a shop near the 'barah dari' says the building should have been preserved even though it was in a dilapidated state. Residents of the area had saved the building from demolition at the time of beautification of the surroundings of the Golden Temple.

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