Arch Dept not ready to take over Fort, Shalamar Gardens
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: The Punjab Archeology Department is not ready to take over the Lahore Fort and the Shalamar Gardens, although Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Rasool asked the department to take over the monuments by July 31, sources told Daily Times on Saturday.
The federal government issued a notification on July 4, saying the Archeology Department would take over the monuments by July 15, but the department could not do that. The chief secretary extended the date up to July 31 but still there is no development from the Archeology Department.
The sources said that there were many reasons keeping the department away from taking over the monuments. They said that the major issue was the verification of more than 10,000 objects at the Lahore Fort. The budget is another, they said.
They said that another major issue was an inoperative electric water-motor in the Shalamar Gardens. The federal government has refused to pay Rs 30,000 to get the motor fixed, saying the gardens had been handed over to the Punjab government so it would not pay for the repair. The Archeology Department said that it had not been allocated funds from the Punjab government to run the monuments so it could not afford to get the motor fixed so the federal government should pay for the repair.
The sources said that the federal government used to allocate Rs 22.5 million for the maintenance of the Lahore Fort and the Shalamar Gardens ever year. The Archeology Department has also demanded the same amount from the Punjab government, they said.
Archeology Department officials told Daily Times that their head Farzana Qureshi was very cautious on the issue of the verification of objects at the Lahore Fort. “She says she will take charge only after the verification of all the things present in the Fort and we think it will take one year to verify all the objects,” they said.