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Punjab govt’s ‘lethargy’ delays relics restoration

December 23, 2012

LAHORE, Dec 23: The delayed revision of PC-I by the Punjab government for the projects pertaining to restoration and conservation of six archeological sites has resulted in delay for a year or so in execution of the same, sources told Dawn.

Sources said an amount of Rs19.9 million has been approved by the Punjab government for six federal archeology projects which were devolved to province in 2011. The projects to be executed with the amount also include conservation of Lahore Fort and Shalamar Gardens, the two world heritage monuments, transferred to Punjab in 2004.

They said delayed revision of PC-I, in which Punjab government had considerably reduced the estimated cost, became a major cause of delay in the conservation and restoration of these sites that was scheduled from July to December 2012. Now the work on these projects would kick off in January 2013.

The six sites which would undergo conservation and restoration work are Jahangir Tomb Complex, Rohtas Fort, Taxila Monuments, Javed Manzil, Hiran Minar and Jandiala Sher Khan Complex (shrine of classical Punjabi poet Waris Shah).

The sources said out of 19.9 million, 11 million have been allocated for Lahore Fort and Shalamar Gardens. The amount approved by Punjab government would be spent on minor conservation works and paying off staff salaries, they added.

They said the delay caused a great deal of financial hardship for the staff specially hired for these projects which included project director, archeological conservators, supervisors etc who had been working without salaries for the last six months.

The sources said the amount approved was only tip of the iceberg because actual conservation work on these projects would start after six months for which the department would seek a fresh approval of Rs60 million or so. The exact amount would be worked out in due course of time, they added.

Punjab Archeology Department Director (northern circle) Saleemul Haq said: “Revised PC-I of the projects has been approved and the amount sought for them has also been approved for the six months of the financial year 2012-13 while release of the amount is in the process.”