The Archaeology Department had removed 16 shops operating from the ‘chabutra’ and guard room after a lot of persuasion and deployment of police force

Things are back to square one at the Badeshahi Ashoorkhana at Patharghatti. The encroachment menace that had plagued this protected monument has returned.

On the intervention of the High Court, the Department of Archaeology and Museums had cleared the encroachments on the ‘chabutra’ and guard room forming part of the Ashoorkhana on December 24. But the failure of the authorities to fence the area has resulted in the cleared space being turned into a parking lot.

Shops removed

The Archaeology Department had removed 16 shops operating from the ‘chabutra’ and guard room after a lot of persuasion and deployment of police force.

But no steps have been taken since to fence the open space. As a result, it has come handy for parking by Ramzan shoppers.

One can see two wheelers and pushcarts parked on the left side of the Ashoorkhana at any given time of the day. During night, the number of vehicles only increases.

With Ramzan shopping peaking by the day, hawkers too are eyeing the open space along Ashoorkhana.

Mir Nawazish Ali Moosvi, caretaker of Ashoorkhana, alerted the authorities about the danger of the open space being encroached again. He requested for a police picket to be posted here to discourage people from parking vehicles near Ashoorkhana in a letter addressed to the Archaeology Department. But, obviously it has fallen on deaf ears.

Interestingly, a ‘no parking’ board installed by the police is also present opposite the gate of the Ashoorkhana while traffic police is always present here in good number. But all this fails to deter the parking.

Restoration work?

Soon after the removal of the encroachments, the authorities had promised to take up restoration work in right earnest. In fact, a detailed project report of Rs.4.26 crore had been prepared for this purpose.

Conservationists are appalled at the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities which has defeated the very purpose of the removal of encroachments. The illegal occupation continues in a different form.

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