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Conservation work at Harappa in progress

Conservation work at Harappa in progress

MULTAN: The Punjab Archaeology Department has completed nearly 38pc work pertaining to construction of a boundary wall, upgrading of facilities and conservation work at the ancient Harappa site.

Archaeology Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Ghulam Muhammad told APP on Tuesday construction of the boundary wall had been pending for several decades because the department did not have legal possession of the adjacent excavated land attached to the museum. The federal and Punjab governments released funds worth Rs194 million for land acquisition, he added.

The SDO said Rs85 million were being spent on the six-foot-high iron fence and 3.5km long boundary wall at the site, which was a vital part of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Similarly, repair and maintenance of 1.3km long walking track at the archaeological mound and laying of tough tiles in front of the Harappa Museum was also being carried out.

He added that Rs33 million were being spent on the conservation and restoration of archaeological remains, including extension of museum gallery from southern side of the building, maintenance and levelling of grassy lawns, provision of security lights within museum premises, signboards for local and foreign tourists, provision of safe drinking water and benches, improvement of toilets and washrooms, canteen and purchase of new furniture for the rest house.

The officer said total area of Harappa was 175 acres and on an average nearly 50,000 people visited it during a month.

“Provincial Minister for Tourism Rana Mashhood instructed to establish a special entrance gate with features reflecting the ancient period,” he said.

He said two large unicorn statues would also be placed at the site.

DERAWAR FORT: Estimates for the conservation of a damaged boundary wall of historical Derawar Fort have been sent to the Punjab government for approval.

Officials said a 19-foot wide portion of the wall and 62-foot wide bastion would be restored up to the height of 75 feet at a cost of Rs6 million.

After technical sanction of the scheme by the Archaeology Department, the scheme would put up for tender and work would possibly begin in 30 to 45 days, officials said.

Official sources said rains and aging process had damaged three bastions and two segments of fort’s 80 feet high and nine feet thick boundary wall. The fort is located on the edge of Cholistan desert in Bahawalpur district.

A Bahawalpur archaeology official told APP that overall conservation of the iconic historical structure would require huge funding, however, a portion of the damaged part would be conserved now while the remaining may be taken up later.

Originally, there has been a fort at Derawar fort site for at least 5,000 years as part of a long chain that protected the ancient trade route from central Asia to the Indian subcontinent, reads a report of the Punjab Archaeology department.

The fort was captured by the Abassi family from Raja Rawal Singh of Jaisalmer in 1733, the time when the present fort was built, says the report which suggests that the fort in present form was built in 1733 AD or earlier.

The fort is more impressive from outside and is supported by 39 enormous buttresses (bastions), with four on each corner, nine on three sides including west, south and north and eight on eastern side.

The fort has emerged as attractive place for picnic particularly after the TDCP chose it to hold country’s mega desert car sport event annually.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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