Mubarak Mandi, the oldest building complex in the heart of the old city of Jammu which was the royal residence of the rulers of the Dogras dynasty till 1925 holds a unique place in the emotive psyche of the people of Jammu division, now a heritage site needs concrete action much beyond perfunctory, half hearted and routine visits by politicians and bureaucrats.
The window dressing of expressing artistically woven sentences of expressing concern over the slow pace of restoration work over the complex following casual visits to the complex by some VIPs can, in fact, be no substitute to the work on it required to go smoothly, evenly and without any brakes so that the complex could somehow appear to have been restored to its pristine glory, which it rightfully deserves.
We have many a time, voiced concern over the casual approach and deficiency in the zeal from the Governmental agencies in respect of restoration work going on in the complex which earnestly required to be stepped up both in pace as well as in all structures. Our apprehensions about non serious approach towards the restoration work on it by the Government is further buttressed by the fact that the Governing Body of the Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society has not even met once during the last two years to attend to at least the Master Plan which has been prepared by the conservation experts. Needless to add, the activities of the Governing Body are quintessential in nature for all vital decisions central to the restoration of Mubarak Mandi complex and must meet quite frequently.
The restoration work is currently going on in one or two structures of the vast complex while all other buildings of the Royal Palace continue to remain in neglected conditions and are victims of dilly dallying methods adopted by the Archeological Survey of India. If the ASI is not competent in all aspects so far as the restoration work is concerned, other agencies could be roped in which are equipped with the requisite expertise and knowhow of the delicate work. It is not to exclude the ASI or cloud their contribution in the restoration work but to supplement and augment the works being carried out by them and to extend cooperation and expertise too, perhaps direly required.
Despite this, no cogent progress is visible despite the ASI clearly making it known to Mubarak Mandi Heritage Society and the senior functionaries of the Government that it was not in a position to execute work involving more than Rs. 2 crore every year due to constraints of manpower and allied reasons. This limitation of the ASI could have been taken in the right perspective and efforts made to find out which agencies could shoulder the responsibility but no efforts are there to have been taken to be reported here and commented upon. That is precisely unacceptable.
People are not only watching the avoidable melodrama called the slow pace of restoration work and aspiring to see the erstwhile Dogra seat of power in its pristine splendid glory at an early date but even the Division Bench of the State High Court had expressed concern over unsatisfactory pace of work going on and had sought clear timelines for planning as well as execution stage and in its observation had cautioned that if the speed of the work did not pick up ,it would take several decades to the Government to fully restore the crumbling heritage.