Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Phillaur Fort: battleground for heritage

The state police may move Punjab and Haryana High Court against any order to shift the 120-year-old Punjab Police Academy out of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Fort at Phillaur in the light of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) seeking the fort’s possession after declaring it a heritage site.

An ASI team had visited Phillaur twice in the recent past to take charge of the fort but was not allowed to do so by police personnel on the grounds that senior officers were not available. The ASI wrote a letter to the Punjab DGP in September, informing him that it has declared Maharaja Ranjit Singh Fort a monument of national importance through a notification issued on September 7. The letter requested that the fort and moat be handed over to ASI at the earliest so that conservation work may be done as per archaeological norms.

The ASI had also written in this regard to the Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti, who confirmed receiving ASI's letters and said, “We are getting the matter examined.’’ The notification about the fort was made by ASI following a civil writ petition filed by one Dilbag Singh in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the declaration of the fort as a national monument. The court had accepted his plea but the ASI had failed to take charge of the fort. Subsequently, Singh had filed a contempt petition in the court that ASI had not declared the fort a monument.

Harpreet Bajwa, indianexpress.com. Sat Nov 27 2010,

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