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Mubarak Mandi restoration work picks up momentum: Priya Sethi

In order to give fillip to pace of work on Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex, Minister of State for Education, Tourism and Culture, Priya Sethi chaired a meeting with the Executive body of Mubarak Mandi Jammu Heritage Society (MMJHS) and reviewed the status of ongoing work on the prestigious project of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex on Monday evening here.

Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Hemant Kumar Sharma, Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez, Director, Archives, Archaeology & Museums, Mohammad Shafi Zahid, Joint Director, Tourism, Shauket Ahmed, Executive Director, MMJHS, Sham Lal besides Members of MMJHS along with the experts form heritage consultancy and senior officers of executing agencies attended the meeting.

Priya Sethi, who is also the chairperson of executive committee especially for the purpose of restoring prestigious heritage complex in Jammu, said that the Mubarak Mandi restoration work has picked up the momentum in the recent times and disclosed that work on Central Courtyard work has already been taken up and will be completed in record time for the use of public.

The Minister took a detailed assessment of the inception report submitted by the Sanrakshan – a heritage consultancy that has been engaged by the recently constituted Mubarak Mandi Jammu Heritage Society (MMJHS) headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti other than Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for the restoration work of the heritage complex.

The Minister asked the consultants to create a vision document for entire complex and accordingly set priorities for conservation and adaptive reuse of buildings.

In a way, the consultants will be preparing a Master Plan for the entire Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex after conservation strategies for each and individual buildings will be worked out.

She asked the concerned for swift completion of the work on Royal court and Darbar Hall that is already on finishing stages.

The consultants appointed have been asked to first go in for structural investigations started which will be followed by Geo-Technical services for structural assessments of buildings and ground penetrating radar service to understand archaeological remains under ground. Once completed, the radar mapping to document all existing buildings will be done and any deflection will be recorded before initiating work.

‘To make a beginning , working on a five year road map serves the purpose but short term strategies involving immediate structural stabilisation including propping wherever needed must be integrated, the Minister said ,adding that, this will at least stabilize all structures and enable the work to begin.

Priya asked the concerned to bring in interpreted materials before starting formally and further instructed to light up the dark areas for people to walk in and see the restoration work going on.

She directed to carry out the work in such a way that no one will be barred from entering the complex while the agencies are executing the restoration work.

The Minister stressed on involving the local communities to bring complete transparency in the entire project.

The Minister passed instructions to install lights in the entire Mubarak Mandi Complex so that work could be taken up at any given point of time even in the evening hours as well.

During the meeting, a detailed discussion was held on several issues pertaining to restoration of central courtyard, face-lifting of Dogra Art Museum, development of tourist facilities around heritage complex, display of signage boards depicting history of buildings of the heritage complex, requirement of Engineering staff, energy stabilization, illumination of building and general lighting in central courtyard, creation of website and more alike.

The meeting was also informed about the conservation master plan, immediate actions, conservation works, electric connection, water supply and civil lines.

Earlier, the Minister visited different segments of the heritage complex to have on ground appraisal of the ongoing work in the heritage complex.