Parking Complex at heritage Site.

This is the place from where the ‘Singh sabha movement’ originated. The school has produced eminent scholars like Bhai Vir Singh who is described as the ‘sixth river’ of the state. The local administration has decided to shift the school to some other building so that traffic around the Golden Temple, which is likely to be declared a world heritage site in 2005 by UNESCO, could be smoothened. The proposed multi-crore parking complex is part of the 35-crore alleviated road from GT Road to Golden Temple. The corporation has earmarked Rs 14 crore for the construction of the parking complex on a 3698-square-metre area out of the total land of 2.94 acres of the school. The Amritsar Vikas Manch had written to the Army and the state and Central governments to get the site of the school declared a heritage site. Mr Brij Bedi, Convener of the Citizens’ Forum, asked whether a heritage could be destroyed for the sake of parking of vehicles’ He said though it was a matter of pride that the Golden Temple was being declared a heritage site but the officials concerned must re-consider the decision.

The ‘Saragarhi Memorial School’ has 800 students on its rolls who come from poor families. It is the only government school for boys in the walled city. If the school is shifted to a far flung area the parents will not be able to send their wards to private schools due to the high fee structure.

It is learnt that it was Prof Darbari Lal, state Minister for Education, who had mooted the idea of converting the school space into a multi-storey parking slot. Originally the parking complex was earmarked within the ‘galliara yojna’ (within he vicinity of Golden Temple). However, some of the experts on heritage, including Ms Gurmit Rai, suggested that the parking complex should be constructed far from the temple.

When contacted Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, however, said that he did not know that the school had heritage value. He said some way out would be found to save the building. He said it would be the endeavour of the corporation that no heritage site is disturbed. ‘I personally feel that the school building will be saved’.

Strongly reacting to the proposal to construct a multi-storey parking place Mr Brij Bedi said: ‘If Mr Jagmohan, Union Tourism and Culture Minister, has vision and imagination he can propose better parking at an alternative place’.

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