Eighty years later, Bhopal’s heritage monument Minto Hall will now be re-transformed into a convention centre. The renovation project would be launched on Wednesday by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) will develop Minto Hall into an ultra-modern convention centre with 500-seating capacity with an outlay of Rs 32 crore. The renovation is likely to be completed by December 2017.
Erstwhile Nawab Sultan Jahan, the twelfth ruler of the state of Bhopal, had laid the foundation of Minto Hall for the guests of Lal Kothi (now the governor’s house) in 1909. The monument was soon turned into an army cantonment and then a convention centre.
“The convention centre was used for mostly all the government functions and at times by the army too then,” historian Syed Akhtar said. The building was named after Lord and Lady Minto as a mark of British Raj. The architectural style of Minto Hall is visibly Indo-colonial -- a fusion of British Colonial and the provincial Nawabi architecture of Bhopal.
In the year 1946, Minto Hall was converted to Hamidia College, which was later moved to its own building. After independence, the hall was converted into the state assembly, which was later moved to a new building in 1996. Since then Minto Hall has been lying mainly unused, occasionally used for exhibitions.