Kr. Balwant Bhau
Erected during Dogra Rule in Jammu and Kashmir, just four out of 11 remaining heritage gates though still standing are in dilapidated condition craving for government attention.
Scores of heritage monuments dating right back from the Maharaja period are crumbling in Jammu, owing to government apathy. The lack of maintenance has resulted in the ruin of these monuments.
After visiting different areas of Jammu region, Newspoint found that there are several old heritage gates in the city which are of great historical values, but are craving for attention, thus are dying silent death.
Among various such gates, Gumat gate (near Town hall building), Denis gate (near Mansar Hotel), Maheshwari gate (near Vivekananda Chowk) and Jogi gate (near Rajput school) are the remaining ones, which are slowly dying in absence of government attention of preserving heritage sites.
Among these five gates, the remains of Gumat gate along with a part of boundary wall near the Town hall building and the ruins of an arched entrance of Jogi gate, near SPM. Rajput School, still exist.
The Maheshwari gate presently located at Vivekananda Chowk near the automobile market was used by locals to enter the old Jammu city. During a visit to the site, it was observed that being situated near the famous Raghunath Temple; the gate has lost its heritage importance and is nothing less but a dump of garbage. Even the ground level of the gate has caved in and the authorities are paying no heed to the dilapidated condition of the gates.
Head member Jammu Heritage Association-Narinder Sharma told Newspoint that the government took many initiatives to revive the lost glory of these heritage gates, but nothing substantial was done. “Municipal Corporation had made a proposal to revive these heritage gates in 2010-11, but things remained untouched,” he said and added due to apathy of the government, built by Dogra rulers, these gates are now encroached.
He accused JMC of being lethargic towards maintenance of these gates and is responsible for their encroachment. “Even a rehabilitation project of 10 lakh was proposed for revamping the gates by the then municipal commissioner but nothing has been done and the conceptual drawings are still lying in the division at Dogra hall,” he said and added that God knows where the funds have gone.
He further said that his association also fought for the renovation of these gates. “We went with a deputation to the JMC commissioner, who promised that encroachment will be removed but nothing happened yet,” he added that the role of the municipal corporation has become irrelevant in preserving the heritage sites, which are turning into dump yards.
“Preservation and restoration plays a cultural role. Old monuments teach us about the history that happened before we were born and promotes the respect for those who lived in different times and different societies,” he said.