After Centre’s aid, restoration work on colonial­-era Amritsar building takes off | punjab | Hindustan Times
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After Centre’s aid, restoration work on colonial­-era Amritsar building takes off

Renovation work on the building, which once housed the office of the Amritsar deputy commissioner, has been started. The state government is planning to convert it into a museum or a heritage restaurant.

punjab Updated: Jun 12, 2017 08:15 IST
Usmeet Kaur
The DC’s chamber in the colonial­era structure had suffered extensive damage in the last year’s fire, while there’s no sign left of the main courtroom outside.
The DC’s chamber in the colonial­era structure had suffered extensive damage in the last year’s fire, while there’s no sign left of the main courtroom outside.(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

A 150-year-old British-era building, which was gutted in a massive fire in May last year, is finally being restored and conserved after the Centre sanctioned Rs 2 crore under the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY).

Renovation work on the building, which once housed the office of the Amritsar deputy commissioner, has been started. The state government is planning to convert it into a museum or a heritage restaurant.

Amritsar DC Kamaljit Singh Sangha said, “Rs 2 crore has been sanctioned by the Centre. The building was damaged to a great extent. The restoration is being done in such a way that its original glory will be retained. But it will take time. The completion deadline is March 2018.”

He said once the work is complete, it will be handed over to the Punjab tourism department to use develop as a heritage site.

BRITISH ERECTED STRUCTURE IN 1850s

The structure is said to be one of the first buildings erected here by the British in the 1850s. It has Indo-Gothic architecture. The colonial woodwork has been completely burnt.

Last year, an Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) team was called here for a detailed survey of the building.

In 2015, a World Bank team had also visited the main building of the deputy commissioner’s office with a plan to set up a museum in the building.

The current DC sits in a makeshift office as the new administrative complex is still not complete.

ROOF COLLAPSED IN MAY 2016 FIRE

The roof of the building had collapse in the fire that engulfed the building on May 25, 2016. Wind helped the flames spread quickly from the top floor, destroying all administrative and revenue records stored on the first floor as officials could reach the ground-floor record section only. The administration had to press in firefighters from the airport and the army. The parking lot grilles and wall were broken to make way for fire tenders.

The deputy commissioner’s chamber suffered extensive damage, while there’s no sign left of the main courtroom outside. Even some 200-year-old records were lost to the blaze. The building was already declared unsafe by the municipal corporation.

Gurmeet Singh, who is supervising the renovation work, said it took a long time to clean the area where construction material and debris were scattered.

The workers have started plastering the walls and a strong roof would be laid, the supervisor said.