With the assembly elections just around the corner, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) is set to expedite the makeover of the city’s iconic Clock Tower, located at the heart of the state capital.
The DMC has sanctioned a sum of Rs 50 lakh for the reinforcement of the Clock Tower’s foundation, after which beautification work of the historic structure will be undertaken, Dehradun mayor Vinod Chamoli said. The BJP has dominated the Dehradun municipal board since 2008 under Chamoli’s leadership.
Currently in a dilapidated condition, beautification work on the 63-year-old heritage structure has been in limbo for almost a decade. In the past nine years, at least five detailed project reports (DPRs) for its renovation have been prepared, but none have materialised so far.
“The beautification work of the Clock Tower cannot be done without first ensuring the strengthening of its base. Hence, we have approved the sum so that the subsequent makeover process can begin as soon as possible,” Chamoli told HT. He is eyeing a ticket from the Dharampur constituency for the assembly polls.
The beautification work was supposed to have begun earlier this year, at a cost of `87 lakh. However, the work failed to commence as a large peepal tree that stands within the premises of the landmark structure was affecting its foundation, Chamoli said.
“We will consult with experts of the (Dehradun-based) Forest Research Institute so that the work can be carried out on the tower without having to remove the tree,” he said, adding that public sentiments and environmental organisations have been against the prospect of removal of the tree.
The construction work of the Clock Tower had started in 1948 in the memory of Lala Balbir Singh, an eminent Dehradun citizen. It was later inaugurated by then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1953.