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*Culture dept launches double-decker bus, ferry service for visitors at beach and Indus River
KARACHI (Feb 24): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has directed the Culture department to coordinate with district and divisional administration to remove encroachment around the heritage buildings and restore them in their actual glory for public. “How encroachment is allowed to appear at and around the heritage buildings. This is intolerable and must be taken accordingly.”
He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting of Culture Department here at the CM House today. The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to Chief Minister of Culture Sharmila Farooqui, Principal Secretary to CM Alamuddin Bullo, Additional Chief Secretary (Dev) Mohammad Waseem, Secretary Culture & Tourism Niaz Abbasi, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput and others.
The chief Minister said that he has personally witnessed that encroachments and illegal occupations have appeared along and around the cultural monuments. “There is lot of encroachment at Shahjehan Mosque Thatta, near Masoom Shah’s Minar Sukkur, Chowkundi graveyard, Lakhian Jo Daro, Makli, Pacca Qila Hyderabad and at various other areas,” he said and directed his Principal Secretary Alamuddin Bullo to talk to divisional and district administrations to cooperate with Culture department in removing encroachments from the heritages.
Giving presentation to the chief minister, Sharmila Farooqui said that 11 schemes would be completed by the end of June 2016. These schemes include Preservation of Chitori Graveyard at Mirpurkhas, Khairpur State Museum, Sindhi Cultural Village Karachi, old Mukhtiarkar building Shikarpur, Cultural Complex Rani Kot, rehabilitation of wooden rood of Shahi Bazar Shikarpur, construction of Resot at baqar Lake, conservation of Thatta and Karachi press club buildings, construction of visitors facility at Malki, conversion of zoo garden into Natural science Museum Tando Mohammad Khan and establishment of Tourist Information Centre at Divisional headquarters.
Secretary Culture Niaz Abbasi giving details of the schemes near completion said that Chitori graveyard Mirpurkhas was approved in 2014-15 for Rs55.11 million. Under this schemes conservation of 12 tombs is being done. He added that 99 percent work on this project has been completed.
Talking about Khairpur Museum, Mr Abbasi said that the conservation of the building was being made for Rs41.408 million. 90 percent work has been completed.
Sharmila Farooqui said that she had started construction of Sindhi Cultural Village at National Museum Karachi for Rs30 million. Under the scheme Landhis (wooden house/structure), chaunra (igloo type of Thari houses) and construction of bazar with traditional material and design with raised platform, bamboo cladding, brick flooring and katcha ghar) have almost been completed. “The chief minister said that he would love to inaugurate this cultural village. It would help to organise cultural event there.”
Secretary Culture said that restoration of old Mukhtiarkar building Shikarpur has been initiated for Rs44.61 million. Under the scheme conservation of main building, servant quarters, kitchen and construction of toilet and compound wall. He added that it was a 100-year old building and may be converted into a club.
He said that he had constituted district Heritage Committee under concerned deputy commissioners. The committee would look-after the restored buildings, keep visiting the buildings to stop encroachments, maintain directory of the building means areas, measurement, rooms, toilets, doors-quality of wood and such other items. The chief minister directed all the deputy commissioners to comply with the instructions because these committees have been constituted on his directives.
Minister Culture Sharmila Farooqi said that a scheme of rehabilitation of wooden Roof of Shahi Bazar has been launched for Rs54.7 million. This bazar is about one kilometer long and has wooden rood. In the roof teak wood has been used. It is about 100-year old. People locally call it as `dhak (covered) bazar. This is a unique bazar she said. On this the chief minister directed her to rehabilitate old shops and cover the open drain running along the bazar. “Yu can generate some funds from the shopkeepers,” he suggested.
Briefing about cultural complex at Rani Kot, the secretary Culture said that it was a Rs32 million scheme to construct compound wall, sheds, water tank and making drinking water arrangements. It is also near completion. The project would turn to be a good facility for the visitors.
Secretary Culture Niaz Abbasi said that Baqar Lake Resort at Sanghar is alos a good project launched for Rs28.6 million. Under teh scheme construction of resorts, quarters and compound wall with steel gate have been undertaken. IT has also a beautiful view for visitors.
He said that restoration of Thatta and Karachi press club projects have been started at Rs17.2 million. The buildings of both the press clubs are historical. Restoration of Thatta Press club has been completed while 60 work of Karachi Press Club has been done so far.
Mr Abbasi said that the project of construction of Museum, up- gradation of visitor’s facility at Makli has been launched for Rs 53.2 million. Under the plan museum building, compound wall, external development, water tanks, soil testing and electrification works have been undertaken. Over 30 work have been completed.
Secretary Culture said that on the directives of chief minister two important schemes are being launched. One is of double-decker bus service which would take visitors from Mohatta Palace and go around the old city. IN this way the old city would be open up for the visitors.
Under the other scheme two 50-seater boats are being purchased for visitors. One boat would be kept at Beach Site near KPT to show the visitors sea-sites of Karachi and other one at Sukkur, near Labe Mehran from where it would take the visitors and sail them in the River Indus up Rohri. Both the boats would provide ferry service.
Niaz Abbasi also told the chair that he was establishing six Archeological & Cultural Monument Centers. These centers would be established two in Karachi, One at Makli, one at Bambhore, one at Moen-Jo-Daro, one at kotdigi. On these centers the crystal, wooden, bronze, brass and pottery souvenirs would be put on sale and display. The souvenirs would contain the impressions/carving of cultural monuments like Moen-jo-Daro, Dambooro (one stringer instrument of Shah Bhittai), Tomb of Bhitt Shah and such others.
The chief minister appreciated the efforts of culture department and urged them to ensure quality work and work in time.

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