Sunami Gate on Patiala MC demolition plan

PatHistoric Sunami Gate of Patiala is on a demolition plan of the MC.

While the state government and the Patiala district administration have plans for a “Conserve Patiala Heritage Buildings” drive, the Patiala Municipal Corporation seems to be heading in an exactly opposite direction by going ahead with its “ill-conceived” plan to demolish historical Sunami Gate.

The MC House has passed a resolution for the demolition of the gate without a nod from the Punjab Archaeological Department. However, it has tried to tread with a little quantum of caution by reluctantly including a condition in the resolution that an NOC would be sought from the department before initiating any demolition at the spot. Its inclusion, it was learnt, came only after a tough stance taken by MC commissioner M.P. Arora against the proposed demolition of the heritage gate.

Though, the Mayor has been maintaining that the gate has become unsafe, sources in the MC pointed out that it was not so unsafe, at least for the time being. Moreover, if the building had been in such a perilous condition and at the same time if the MC had any concern for the preservation of Patiala heritage, it could have instead gone in for restoration of the gate with the help of the Archaeological Department.

“Demolition is no answer to the problem even if the gate had been rendered unsafe,” said a resident, Rakesh Kumar.

Ironically, the government has included the city in its proposed tourism development master plan, having focus on the Patiala heritage buildings. A five-member team of experts of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has advocated need to conserve the heritage buildings of the city. They inspected a number of such buildings on Monday. Deputy Commissioner D.S. Grewal apprised the team of the administration’s “unflinching” commitment to preserving the rich Patiala heritage.

The sources said a lobby of certain people with vested interests was pushing for the demolition plan. The gate is one of the 10 famous Patiala gates, Darshani Gate, the main entrance of Qila Mubarak, Lahouri Gate, Nabha Gate, Samana Gate, Sirhindi Gate, Sheranwala Gate, Safabadi Gate, Sunami Gate and Top Khana Gate. Nabha Gate, Lahori Gate and Safabadi Gate had collapsed while a ‘new version’ has replaced old Sheranwala Gate about a year ago. The old walled city has access only through these gates.

Arora said the MC would go ahead with its Samana Gate demolition plan only if it got an NOC from the Archaeological Department.

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