MULTAN: The centuries old monument of Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam has sustained water damage near the main entrance.
The historic structure requires the immediate attention of the departments for necessary repairs and conservation, stated an official from the archaeology department.
The building, which was declared the best conserved monument, is located at Qasim Fort on a raised piece of land, the highest spot in the city of saints. Reportedly, the archaeology department sent a report to higher ups stating that a water cooler, placed near the tomb could be the reason.
While the cooler has been removed, the excess water from it was transported via a covered drain, the official added. However, this drain has not been properly cleaned by the archaeology department for approximately 16 years, he added.
The tomb has been under the administrative control of the Punjab Auqaf department which has not provided annual maintenance funds to the archaeology department, the official highlighted. He revealed that there are vertical cracks on the interior and exterior of the entrance gate.
Meanwhile, the southern and western side of the boundary wall has also been damaged. The western portion of the entrance has become bloated while the floor surrounding it has sunken in, he stated. The joints of the damaged part of the tomb may have loosened. Delays in repairing and conserving the tomb may cause the damage to spread and pose a threat to citizens’ lives.
The report submitted to the Auqaf department proposed a joint visit to the site to come up with a decision.
When contacted, Auqaf Department Zonal Administrator Ziaul Mustafa said that he was aware of the situation at the tomb and that a contractor had been directed to clean the drain immediately to prevent further water damage.
The proposal, worth Rs15 million, included expanding the monument till the ablution point, new flooring similar to that in the courtyard, a drainage system, reconstruction of the ablution point and the restrooms and installation of barbed wire on the boundary wall for security.
A sub-engineer from the department, Azam Ali, said that development work would be taken up in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, subject to approval.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2019.