Autonomous body proposed to manage heritage


* P&D Dept says law to be tabled in the next provincial assembly

The government is set to form a new statuary body, which will be chaired by the chief minister and will be responsible for the preservation and rehabilitation of historical monuments in the province. The provincial cabinet has already passed a bill for the formation of the new body, officials in the Planning and Development (P&D) Department told Daily Times.

Aqeel Ansari, project director of the P&D’s Project Management Unit for Sustainable Development and Planning of the Walled City (SDPWC) project, told Daily Times that the body would make sure that the government’s plans for the rehabilitation of the province’s cultural heritage were worked on. He said a law in this regard would be tabled in the next assembly.

Another P&D official told Daily Times that the body would consist of six ex-officio members and four civil members, including an architect and an environmentalist. The government will appoint the four civil members of the body. He said the proposed law included a chapter titled Cultural Heritage, which would underline the functions of the authority regarding monuments, cultural heritage, restoration of cultural assets and acquisition of cultural assets.

The work of the body in the cities will be centred around improving the infrastructure including roads, streets, parks, electric power supply, water supply, sewage and providing social services like health and education within the area of the historical buildings, such as the Walled City. The government is also considering giving the body the authority to promote the culture of the province by developing and maintaining historic parks and gardens like Shalamar Gardens. The body will be allowed to form plans for the regulation of traffic around historic buildings. It will be allowed to remove all encroachments around the monuments.

The proposed law aims at giving the body the authority to regulate and control historic buildings and developing facilities in them for tourists, the official said. He said the law would give the body the power to manage funds so that its work might not be hindered by any other department.

The official said the government wanted the body to focus on environmental hazards for monuments in the province and form plans to protect them. The government also wanted it to promote tourism in the province and take steps for more investment in the tourism industry.

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