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PESHAWAR, Jan 26: Two British-era century old vintage fire engines will be displayed on the premises of ancient Gor Khuttree monument in the interior city.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture Department has preserved the fire engines and saved them from being reduced to metal junk.

“We are contemplating to display these old fire engines at historic Gor Khuttree to inculcate new spirit among the dwellers of the walled city to preserve the dying archaeological legacy of Peshawar, the oldest living city of South Asia,” said Provincial Culture Secretary Azam Khan.

Talking to this news agency, he said that culture department also wanted to revive the glory of Gor Khuttree, an archaeologically rich site located in the heart of Peshawar, by displaying the preserved fire engines.

“We want to attract denizens of Peshawar to Gor Khuttree by displaying such historical items besides antiques at the city museum, set up on the premises of the monument,” he added.

He said that preserving the threatened heritage of the city could not be achieved unless locals were involved in the activity. “The government alone cannot achieve such a goal,” Mr Khan added.

It merits a mention here that the two British-era vintage fire engines, which were rusting at a shed in Gor Khuttree, were saved from being corroded by the culture department with the cooperation of two non-governmental organisations -- Frontier Heritage Trust and Vintage Car Organisation.

The government owned fire engines were built by “Merry Weather London” (Models 1919-21). The rare antiquities were under severe threat from natural elements due to neglect as the old trucks had gathered dust and reached the brink of being reduced to metal junk.

The culture department allocated a fund of Rs2 million for preservation of the engines while technical staff was arranged by FHT and Vintage Car Organisation.

The condition of rotting priceless antique engines was first raised by Sarhad Conservation Network (SCN), a Peshawar based NGO, in 2002.

The SCN and a group of citizens stepped up efforts and started campaign to highlight the importance of the antiques besides requesting the government and all those interested in preservation and restoration of the vanishing heritage.

Finally the efforts of SCN and citizens bore fruit and preservation of rusting vintage engines started by culture department, Frontier Heritage Trust and Vintage Car Organisation. —APP