Declared protected site in 2007,150-yr-old Nahan Kothi caught in bureaucratic tangle

With the spikes nailed to its walls supporting calendars of the Haryana Government,the dilapidated building of Nahan Kothi has a bleak chance of living the status of a protected monument conferred upon it by the Haryana government.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | Chandigrah | Published: October 3, 2013 1:03:24 am

With the spikes nailed to its walls supporting calendars of the Haryana Government,the dilapidated building of Nahan Kothi has a bleak chance of living the status of a protected monument conferred upon it by the Haryana government.

The building,over 150 years old,was declared a protected monument and an archaeological site by the Governor of Haryana in 2007.

Built by Raja Fateh Singh of Sirmour,it is now being defaced by its very own caretaker.

Responsible for the conservation of this lesser known site in Sector 12,Panchkula,the State Archaeological and Museum Department seems to have adopted the ‘one step forward two steps back’ approach for this only ancient Indo-British architecture in the zone.

The department has been issuing notices to other offices still operating from the building once used by the SDM to vacate the complex,while its own head office is functioning from the same building since the past one year.

Not only has the furniture of the department’s office found place in rooms in the main building and adjoining structures,the department has also gone ahead with construction at the protected site.

Sheltering many officials,a steel structure has been put up joining the main building with the rooms constructed later.

“The conservation of the building can only start once the other offices vacate it,” said Ranbir Singh Shastri,former Deputy Director of the department,who retired recently.

While the District Welfare and the Mining and Geology Department vacated the premises in 2008 after it was declared a protected site,the building has been housing the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum,Panchkula since 1998.

Though the Museum department had served a notice to the Consumer Forum through the Deputy Commissioner to leave the building in May,the chances of the department doing so appear slim.

With PVC wires running along its red walls and broken windows overlooking a heap of garbage (mostly rejected official papers) near its entrance,the department thinks of it as a way of conserving the building once used by the Sirmaur Raja when he came down for hunting.

“We want to conserve the building and that is why we are here. All the set up is for conservation purposes,whenever it starts,” said Shastri when asked about the department’s presence in the building,even as it sought others to vacate the complex.

The department earlier functioned from a private building in Sector 5 and has been operating from Nahan Kothi only since September last year.

With the Consumer Forum still waiting to be shifted to a place where its presence won’t be termed ‘illegal’,the Museum Department does seem to be in a hurry to shift from the monument.

“The department which earlier functioned from a rented office in Sector 5 has not be allotted any other office till now,” informed Shastri.

Meanwhile,principal secretary of the Archaeology and Museum Department,Vijay Vardhan remained unavailable despite several attempts to contact him.

With the department’s director H S Malik saying “I am too busy to talk”,Nahan Kothi’s future appears to be darker than the shade of the iron pillars in its compound.

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