TAXILA, June 26: The Mughal era monument, locally called tomb of princess Lalarukh, situated in the heart of Hassanabdal is fast losing its grandeur with its walls covered in graffiti and the building occupied by encroachers.
The tomb, where female member of the royal family of the Mughal Emperor Humayun is buried, was declared as ?protected site? by the British government through Punjab government gazette of October 26, 1917.
The tomb has its own architectural significance as its cenotaph built in variegated sand stone stands on a high platform amidst a large enclosure which is approached through a wooden door in the west. A spring flowing on the north side washes the enclosure wall. To save this area from being washed away a small wall was built in the past while remaining part of the wall was constructed in 1952.
The tomb is the victim of neglect as its walls are in dilapidated condition as no step for its maintenance and repair has been taken by the federal department of archaeology and museums for the last two decades.
Massive graffiti on eastern and southern walls of the tomb speaks volumes about the apathy of the public as well officials concerned.
The massive graffiti on walls has shadowed the historic grandeur and beauty of the tomb. While section 19 (1) of the Antiquities Act 1975 states as ?No person shall destroy, break, damage, alter, injure, deface or scribble, write or engrave any inscription or sign on any antiquity or take manure from any protected antiquity who ever contravenes the provisions of sub section (1) shall be punishable with vigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or fine or both?.
Apathy of the authorities concerned could be gauged from the fact that despite clear rules and regulations, no one had been booked for damaging this site of national and cultural importance.
Moreover, unchecked littering around the tomb continues to smear the beauty of the monument. Empty bottles of mineral water, tossed around carelessly by visitors, boxes of juices and pizzas and cigarette packs dot the lawns, marvelously developed by the authorities.
Different houses and shops have been constructed along the boundary wall of the site in violation of Section 22 of Antiquities Act 1975 of federal department of archaeology and museums.
The archeology department does not have its own force or resources to get possession or remove encroachments and it has to seek assistance from local police as well as revenue department.
However, over the year such help was not forthcoming because of the influence of the ruling party parliamentarians and local land mafia.
Acting deputy director of Federal Department of Archeology and Museums Nasir Khan said the department had planned to carry out preservation and restoration work during next fiscal year.
He said that case had been lodged by the department against encroachers in court and department making all out efforts to stop encroachments around the site.
Responding to a question he blamed public for graffiti on walls and improper disposal of garbage