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One of Lucknow's iconic attractions, the Chhota Imambara now stands 'scarred' by the Lucknow Police that has established a police outpost at its facade. This massacre of the city's tourist magnet is a major violation of the rule of the Archeological Survey of India and Hussainabad Allied Trust.


Vandalism of a historical monument in Lucknow

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The officials of authoritative Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Hussainabad Allied Trust (HAT) which hold the ownership of the monument have labelled this action as a case of 'extreme illegality and brazen violation of the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) (AMASR) Act, 2010'. This listed Act strictly prohibits any work of construction or renovation within a 100-metre vicinity of a protected monumental building.

More on Knocksense Lucknow: 7 Intersting facts about Chhota Imambara

An interesting revelation also highlights that the restoration of this 1990s established police outpost, locally known as Satkhanda police chowki, is also in violation of the Allahabad High Court's order that directs the HAT to fund and the ASI to ensure restoration of the Chhota Imambara Gate. This order was initiated by the Principal Secretary, Department of Culture in May 2014 following the verdict of the 2013 PIL filed by a corporate lawyer and heritage activist, S. Mohammed Haider. This petition requested the court's intervention for the repair, maintenance and removal of encroachment within the premises of the monuments.

Manoj Saxena, deputy superintending archaeologist, Lucknow Circle, ASI said, "It is a purely illegal act. We have served notice on the police station to stop the work immediately." From the other side of the spectrum, I. P. Singh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chowk area, under which the said police outpost comes, said, "The matter is in our knowledge. We have ordered a probe into it."

The course of events

According to the timeline presented by the HAT officials, the first occurrence of illegality came to the foreground 4 days ago when a party of masons was found busy razing the shade of the gate to pave the way for a new one to suit their own requirement and design. "By the time, we got the information and rushed to the spot, the entire shade, all made up of red lakhauri bricks, was demolished by masons. On inquiring, they simply responded that "Chowki prabhari sahib ka adesh hai (It is the police outpost in-charge's order)", an official of the Trust stated. At this point, the team concluded that there was no illegal act done to the monument, however, "We also found that the interior of the chowki had all been changed. In place of the old lakhauri walls, there were new cement walls," the official added.

When this construction and renovation was objected, the on-duty police personnel assured them that they would stop the work immediately and apply for permission for the same. "But overnight, they re-started construction work and completed the structure. They got it painted so that it gels with the remaining structure," the official further said.

The HAT has reached out to the district administration with a letter addressed to the City Magistrate. The post also absorbs the role of the secretary of the trust that was formed by King Mohammed Ali Shah in 1839 to meet the religious and charitable needs of the community and to maintain the Nawabi-era structures owned by the trust. However, the City Magistrate and secretary of HAT, said, "I am unaware of this illegality. If this is so, we would serve notice and will initiate maximum action against the erring person."

-With inputs from IANS

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Fighting against hunger, THESE 5 NGOs are a silver lining for the needy in Lucknow!

This World Food Day, get to know about these 5 NGOs fighting against hunger in Lucknow

There is an abundance of food-delivery apps in the market today that have managed to reduce the gap between your homes and restaurants. However, there is no such modern solution to bridge the long-prevailing gap between a one-time meal and the underprivileged. No matter how developed any city in India is today, the issue of hunger is a prominent one everywhere, and Lucknow is no exception.

But keeping intact our faith in humanity, are certain groups and individuals who're working round the clock to ensure that each day, the number of people going to sleep hungry, reduces significantly. This World Food Day, get to know about 5 NGOs working towards this cause and provide them with your support however you can. A little help goes a long way!

Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation spread across India that operates a school lunch programme (Mid-Day meal). Established in the year 2000, the aim of this organisation is to counter classroom hunger and aid in the education of children. Reportedly, it feeds more than 18 lakh children every day, across the country. With its presence in several cities including Lucknow, the Akshaya Patra Foundation also worked to distribute food among the migrant workers during the COVID crisis last year. Donate to this noble cause by clicking on the website link attached below.

Contact: 097924 48359

Website: The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Robin Hood Army

The Robin Hood Army is a volunteer-based organisation that was established in 2014 by Neel Ghose and Arushi Batra. This establishment works to get surplus food from restaurants and the community, to serve less fortunate people. The idea behind the conception of this NGO is to create self-sustained chapters across the world, that will look after its local community. Like all the other chapters, Lucknow Chapter of this volunteer-based organisation conducts various drives across the city. If you wish to become a part of this group log on to their official website now!

Contact: Send a mail on info@robinhoodarmy.com

Website: The Robin Hood Army

Roti Bank

Roti Bank is a citizen led organisation who's primary aim is to provide food to the needy. To attain this goal, Roti Bank has a team spread across the country including a bunch in Lucknow that is purely dedicated to the cause. Roti bank collects left-over and excess food from homes and events and distributes it among the needy. One can donate in cash or kind or even volunteer to become a part of this thoughtful initiative. Click on the website link to know more about this organisation.

Contact: 7905881802

Website: Roti bank Lucknow

Vijay Sri Foundation

Vijay Sri Foundation is a non-government organization, that was launched in the year 2009 in Lucknow. The main objective of this organisation was the distribution of food to the needy poor in hospitals. Initially, home-cooked food packets were distributed among attendants of poor patients admitted in various wards of Lucknow's King George Medical College. Gradually, the operations grew to other hospitals in the city as well. Currently, around 900 patients are served food everyday, under its "Prasadam Sewa" campaign. To join their team or contribute monetarily, log on to their official website.

Contact: 099358 88887

Website: Prasadam Sewa

Feeding India

Found in the year 2014, Feeding India was formed to solve the complex challenges of food wastage, malnutrition and hunger in India. As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Zomato acquired this organisation in 2019 to deal with these issues. With its presence in Lucknow, Feeding India by Zomato designs interventions to decrease hunger among the communities that are underserved. If you wish to donate or know more about this organisation check out their official website.

Contact: Write to them here

Website: Feeding India

Knock Knock

Even though these organisations are working hard to improve the situation, it is upon all of us to make sure that we don't waste food and do whatever we can to help and feed the poor. To fight and beat the global problem of hunger, a collective effort is a must!

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