Sunami Gate may collapse

The city has already lost two gates in the past few decades and there is a danger of losing another one soon if the Department of Archaeology and Cultural Affairs does not move fast in this regard. Sheranwala Gate and Saifabadi Gate just crumbled away in the recent past before being literally torn away by adjacent shopkeepers so that the area could be developed into a commercial centre which it has now.

Sunami Gate is in a precarious condition presently. The gate, which leads to the traditional market – Adalat Bazaar – is shorn of its traditional finery. Once extensively painted and engraved, today the paint work can barely be seen in a few feet of space. The very existence of the gate is at stake with huge cracks having developed on the side which faces Modi College. People living nearby said if the cracks were not attended to immediately part of the gate could fall apart. Besides the cracks on the walls, the roof has also fallen away in places. Due to this few rooms in the double-storey gate are littered with bricks from the fallen roof on top of them. This sources said would further weaken the structure as rain water could now easily seep into the building. The maintenance of the gate is also in poor shape as its plaster having peeled off in various places.

The sources said even though estimates to repair the gate have been made since 1996, nothing has been done till now. They said an estimate of Rs 2 lakh was made in 1996 and Rs 6 lakh in 1999. However, work on the gate had not been carried out since then. Officials said a recent departmental communication had asked the local Assistant Conservator to take up work on the gates in February this year. They said, however, even then the work could not be taken up as the department did not give any money for the project.

The sources said it was difficult to initiate restoration work on other gates also. While giving the example of Darshani Gate where high-voltage wires pass directly over it due to which no work can be carried out on its roof. They said Darshani Gate where ‘Prakash’ of the Granth Sahib brought from all other gates was done on a regular basis was also becoming unfit for the purpose as no maintenance was being done on the gate. The premises near the gate stink as the area is used for defecation by many people and there is no check to it.

The sources said a move had been initiated recently to give a fresh coat of paint to all gates in the city but even this could not be carried out. Except for Sirhindi Gate, which has been restored by the department after a portion of it crumbled around two years back, the other gates need some work.

The gates besides serving as entrances into the city from different corners were also commercial hubs with shops selling wares from inside and around them. They also served a religious purpose with all of them having ‘Prakash’ of the Granth Sahib installed in one room. Presently, only four gates are protected by the Cultural Affairs Department namely Sirhindi Gate, Sunami Gate, Samania Gate and Darshani Gate.

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