Source: Our historic monuments that should have been preserved by the concerned authorities lie wasted away owing to the negligence of the Archeology Department.Lahore Fort is the first choice of visitors (including locals and foreigners) and is one of the best Mughal era construction piece. The garden in the front of the Fort, which used to double the fort’s attraction has now given way to bus stands, approved by the Archeology Department. Some of its portion remains intact, but the grandeur has withered away.The Post observed in its survey that the part of the garden used for bus stand is the dirtiest and the most muddied with garbage strewn all around and contaminated water further polluting the environ. The beggars continue to repose there while the iron fence around the part lies broken from three different places. Grass has been removed and crushed beneath the tyres of buses.
SDO Archeology Anjum Saleem told The Post in his defence that the stand was to provide parking facilities to the visitors, given on a contract for a year at Rs 410,000.
He said he has no knowledge about the legality of such an act, but added that the demand for a parking stand was greater and needed to be fulfilled. “The garden has no historical background, prepared as it was by the PHA a few years back,” he said, adding that a river flow was ‘where the garden is now.’
Curator Lahore Fort Afzal Khan said visitors park their vehicles at Hazoori Bagh, but the rising uncertainty ‘compelled us to arrange parking outside the fort.’ “Our contract started from April 15, 2007 to mature on April 15, 2008,” he said, explaining that the rules decree that the parking stand be 200 feet away from the walls of the fort. He accused the contractor of violating rules and regulations, breaking the iron fence of the garden and widening the entry without approval of the Archeology Department. “We will fire the contractor after maturity of his contractual period,” he added, maintaining that a written application has been forwarded to the high-ups in this regard.
Contractor, Muhammad Aslam told The Post that the lack of visitors at the fort forced him to open the parking stand for buses and vans. “I paid Rs 520,000 for the stand,” he said, adding that he would, again this time try his luck to win the contract.
He said he charges Rs 100 per time stay and for small vehicles Rs 50 besides those who refuse to park their vehicles in the stand, running them in, near the fort’s main entry.
Visitor Muhammad Iqbal blasted the relevant department for failing to preserve the garden instead of wasting it by using it as a parking stand. “Our tourist spot has been damaged,” he added, continuing that the officials concerned should also keep a record of all those using the place at night-time.