LAHORE - Since June, a reckless effort is being made at the Punjab Civil Secretariat in the name of 'restoring the original glory' of the buildings in the premises, but it seems to be more of a retrieval of the structure existed about 150 years ago, while no concern has been shown for the conservation of the buildings, and officials of the Communication and Works Departments are manning labourers, instead of experts carrying out the job. According to a source, despite the fact that a report has been submitted to Chief Secretary Punjab Javed Mehmood for the conversation and restoration of the Punjab Civil Secretariat buildings, no heed has been paid to the recommendations of the report, which has been prepared by Secretary Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Orya Maqbool Jan Abbasi. Bringing down of many age-old structures - the additions and alterations - is still continuing, which had been mostly and primarily constructed by the British, while the Pakistanis also had their share as well. "Additions and alterations have been basically done to accommodate an-ever increasing number of officers on the as-when-and-where required basis. Resultantly, the colonnade and arched openings of the verandas of various buildings in the Secretariat premises have been closed by erecting masonry walls in all available spaces, and this has affected the Chief Secretary's Block the most," said the source adding that the partition of big rooms into small cells had been done to accommodate more staff, separate rooms for 'independence-seeking' officers, and construction of kitchens, stores and toilets. "Original floors of the rooms and verandas have been replaced with marble and glazed tires over a period. Moreover, in all the historical buildings, kankar lime had been used, while in later additions and repairs, cement plaster was used. Both these have caused decay to the buildings, and this is still continuing as cement is being used again as a plaster," maintained the source. Another officer maintained that the present demolition-cum-restoration has definitely caused a loss to public money, as brining down of structures is continuing, while there is a dire need to accommodate the displaced officers and officials. "Yes It looks good to have spacious places around, but the restoration of the original fatade of the Civil Secretariat Punjab is a distant dream, as one needs experts to do the job, not masons and labourers being told by an Additional Secretary, a DS or a Section Officer to demolish or construct something. Restoration or preservation is a specialists' job, and definitely not of a bureaucrat who has been giving marching orders to his subordinates," said the source. The report, while commending the Chief Secretary for doing a good job "took a very positive step to preserve and restore original glory" - has recommended that the white wash or emulsion quoting should be scrapped to check and revive the original materials, whereas the cement plaster had caused deterioration, while the future renovation should be done with the traditional materials. However, contrary to this, again the cement material is being applied instead of Kankar lime (Kasouri chuna). Secondly, small-size bricks masonry should have been replaced with new ones while using small bricks in kankar lime mortar, but it is not the case. Thirdly, the false ceilings, provided in the later repairs, should be removed while restoring the original skylights and ventilators because these had been covered by false ceilings over a period. It has been further recommended that the later additions and alterations should be removed, especially those visible from exterior, for restoring the original colonnade veranda, not only from the Chief Secretary's Block rather from other buildings of the Secretariat as well. Interestingly, the same is the case with Minister's Block and the Finance Department as well where the demolition is yet to be started. Constitutions of a supervisory-cum-advisory committee comprising conservation experts from the Federal and the Punjab departments of archaeology, Chief Architect Punjab, Structural Specialist from the C&W Department, Executive Director PUCAR, and heads of Architecture Department UET and NCA, under the chairmanship of the Secretary Culture, has been recommended so that the restoration work should be executed by the C&W Department under the supervision of the committee.  However, the destruction-cum-construction is continuing unabatedly without giving due consideration to the recommendations.