Tourism project for historic buildings on anvil

The scheme, which has been developed by the Archaeology, Cultural Affairs and Museums Department, envisages spending Rs 25 lakh on Quila Mubarak and Rs 50 lakh on Sheesh Mahal. While the Union Government will give a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the project, the state government will spend the rest of Rs 25 lakh. Sources said once the funds from the Central allocation were released, the department would approach the Finance Department for the release of its share of the amount.

The scheme, which is being implemented under the refurbishment of monuments, envisages providing essential facilities at both sites which will give a fillip to tourism, besides flood lighting of both the monuments. In a major decision, the Banasar Tank in Sheesh Mahal is being revived. The tank has been lying dry for years. Under the project a cement concrete flooring will be done in the tank and water will be filled in it. Boating and other water sports will be started at the site. A suspension bridge built over the tank will also be repaired and given a fresh coat of paint.

Among the works to be undertaken in Quila Mubarak are cementing the courtyard of the Quila Androon and laying of fountains in the area in front of Sheesh Mahal. The fountains, which already existed in the Bagichi complex in the Quila Androon, will be made functional. Fountains will also be erected in the Ranwas compound which is built outside the main complex.

Among the things to be done to attract tourists to the fort are creation of a cafetaria, a souvenir shop, parking space, curio shop and construction of swings and other recreation facilities for children. Hoardings of Quila Mubarak and history boards will also be put up in the complex.

As regards Sheesh Mahal, besides the resurrection of the Banasar Tank and repair and repainting of the suspension bridge, flood lighting will be done around the monument to make it more appealing in the evening. In Sheesh Mahal also it is planned to establish a curio shop and a cafetaria, besides fixing up swings for children.
Though the execution of the project is likely to be a boon for tourists visiting both the historic buildings, the people of the city are not to be pleased with the scheme. Sohanjit Singh, a resident of the inner city, said though funds for giving a facelift to both the buildings was welcome, concrete steps needed to be taken to save the very character of the buildings. Sohanjit and others believe the present project would only be cosmetic in nature as it would bring in infrastructure with only the tourism angle in mind. ”Is anyone thinking of restoring and repairing

Quila Mubarak whose very existence is threatened due to years of neglect,” he added.
Rajeshwar Sharma said the Quila Mubarak complex was in urgent need of funds for carrying out restoration exercises. He said even restoration of the Ranwas structure which had been started by the Archaeological Survey of India could not be completed due to lack of funds.

Similarly, he said various columns in the Quila Androon had simply come apart and were still to be restored. Sources said the same was the case with Sheesh Mahal where the structure needed to be strengthened at various places. ”We can only think of cosmetic needs once both the structures are brought back to their pristine glory through a massive infusion of funds,” Rajeshwar said.

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