Diwan Todar Mal’s Haveli moves at snail pace

Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab: The project of restoring more than 300-year-old “Jahaji Haveli” of Dewan Todar Mal is going at a very slow pace.

At present, only three masons and 14 labourers have been engaged by a Delhi-based company. Sources said going by the pace of the work, it would take few more years to restore the building to its old glory.

The funds for the project are being provided by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Chakradhar Yadav, an expert in restoring heritage buildings, said the building was badly damaged. The nature of the work was such that they could not speed it up. He said before constructing any wall they had to dig the earth two to three feet to know the actual design of the wall. He said the walls of the building were 3-ft wide and were made of lime, brick powder and sand. He said such work took a lot of time. It would take a minimum of two years to complete the project, he added.

The haveli belongs to Diwan Todar Mal, who had given a large number of gold coins to the then Governor of Sirhind Wazir Khan. Wazir had demanded gold coins in vertical shape equal to the size of land sought to perform the last rites of younger “sahibzadas” of Guru Gobind Singh. Todar Mal had parted with his savings and property to buy the land.

The haveli had remained neglected for a long time. It had got mired in a controversy after a private trust claimed its ownership in September 2003. It was only after the matter was brought to the knowledge of Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal that the trust handed over the documents of the haveli to the SGPC in 2008.

Earlier, UK-based Virsa Sambhal Organisation, headed by Harminder Kaur, in 2010 had assured the SGPC to provide help for the restoration work. But the organisation had left the project halfway.

SGPC interim committee member Karnail Singh Panjoli said in the first phase they would strengthen the dilapidated structure from the base. He expressed satisfaction over the pace of work. He claimed the project would be completed within three to four months.

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