Illegal hoardings at Bahu Fort eyesore for visitors

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In total disregard to the existing rules which govern activities at historical monuments, hoardings have been illegally placed on the wall of Bahu Fort with the state Archaeology Department and police allowing the open vandalism of the protected site.

Ahead of Navratras when facelift is given to the area along the fort, which houses ancient temple of Goddess Kali, the presiding deity of Jammu, hoardings by a political activist, who runs an NGO, have become an eyesore for the visitors.Despite a complaint lodged by pilgrims and local people, the policemen, who are guarding the fort and temple, have failed to remove the flex boards. This is for the first time that a private organisation has been allowed to put advertising boards.

“This is quite unfortunate that an NGO has placed billboards. It is hurtful and violates the sanctity of the place. It is not just an ordinary building, but also a historical monument protected by law. This should not be allowed,” said Rajiv Charak, president, Bahu Fort Development Committee.The fort was damaged in 2013 when heavy rains lashed city for three days and 50-ft wall collapsed. Since then much care has been taken to prevent further damage.

“The billboards should be removed immediately. Otherwise people will themselves bring them down. We would not allow the historical place to become an area of self praise and publicity,” said Kunal Sharma, a local shopkeeper.The fort is one of the ancient structures in Jammu and Kashmir and said to be built by Raja Jambu Lochan some 3,000 years ago.The unauthorised hoardings, signboards and advertisements in virtually every nook and corner of the city have defaced Jammu, giving it a look of the city of hoardings.

The city walls, fencings, electric poles, buildings, rooftops, railings, even the roadside trees have been used for the fixing of these unauthorised hoardings, signboards and advertisements.

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