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Move to sell heritage building sparks anger in Jammu

Sunday March 20, 2011 10:02:36 PM, IANS

Jammu: Anger is brewing against the reported move of the Jammu and Kashmir government to sell a more than 150-year-old heritage building in the heart of the walled city of Jammu to a private firm to construct a five-star hotel.

The Mubarak Mandi complex, the erstwhile seat of the Dogra rulers, spread over 14 acres of prime land in the heart of Jammu city, is up for sale for the construction of a hotel - a move that has triggered a wave of anger among the people here.

The land, which costs more than Rs.6,000 crore as per the market rate, has historic buildings from where the Dogras ruled, has been notified as a hotel site by the state government, and tenders have been floated inviting bids for an auction this week.

"It is disgraceful," said Ashok Gupta, a resident of Pakki Dhaki residential locality in the vicinity of the complex. "It is a clear bid to wipe out the Dogra history and heritage and we will not allow it to happen," he said.

This sentiment is widespread in the city. The locals allege that first the government, after the end of Dogra rule in 1947, converted the building into an office complex and its historic glory was plundered and now it is being put up for sale.

"The move has to be resisted and it will be resisted, come what may," Ranjit Singh, who lives in Panjtirthi, Jammu, told IANS.

He claimed that a people's movement would be launched to blunt the government's move.

The state legislative assembly was rocked over the issue Friday by legislators belonging to Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party.

Sources within the Bharatiya Janata Party disclosed that it too would launch an agitation over the issue.







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