The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has formally begun the conservation of the ancestral homes of Bollywood legends Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in the provincial capital city of Peshawar.

The director at the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdul Samad said that the preservation experts at the department had begun documenting details of the properties after cleaning the premises.

Samad said, “The condition in which we received Dilip Kumar’s property was that its previous owners have left to us in really bad shape. It took us nearly two months to remove the broken material.”

He said that the department began working on the project soon after it was handed over to them. The director said that after cleaning the premises, the directorate was working on the properties’ documentation to have ideas about the project’s total cost and related issues.

Samad said the directorate was trying to follow international standards while conserving both properties. He said that the directorate would be able to say something after the documentation of both properties was complete.

The director said, “Our engineers are busy in work but since it is very old building, it will take us time to figure out the old material used, construction techniques and assemble experts for the task. Being an archaeologist, I can say that it would take us at least two to two and half years to conserve Dilip Kumar’s residence.”

He said the historical structures would be made museums after restoration, which are located inside the walled city of the provincial capital.

Colonial law comes to rescue

Earlier in June, the government took possession of the two properties from their respective owners in June this year through the colonial era’s 1894 Land Acquisition Law. Kumar’s residence is located in the Mohallah Khudadad area while Kapoor Haveli is situated in the Dhaki Nalbandi area.

On the instruction of the provincial government, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar valued Kapoor Haveli at Rs 11.5 million and Dilip Kumar’s ancestral home at Rs 7.2 million. The district administration issued a notification on June 1, transferring the ownership of both properties to the directorate of archaeology.

The Awami National Party government had tried to acquire Dilip Kumar’s ancestral home for conservation during its tenure in 2013-18. However, the rate dispute hampered the bid leading to litigation during the last CM Pervez Khattak-led government.

In Oct 2015, the government had informed the Peshawar High Court that it had dropped the plan of acquiring the house but declared it protected antiquity stopping the owner from renovating it or making changes to it.

In 2016, the Kapoor Haveli was badly damaged by its current owner during demolition, which was brought to a halt by the intervention of the archaeology directorate.

However, the exercise destroyed the upper portion of the house and badly damaged the rest.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
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