Sunday, 6 August 2017

Patna Collectorate building - a heritage site facing demolition !!

Patna collectorate, Patn The Telegraph
Close to the Gandhi maidan and on the banks of the Ganges stands yet another colonial building - Patna Collectorate or District Collectorate,  which is administrative head office of Collector of Patna district in Patna (district headquarters). This structure more than 200 years old is built in British and Dutch style and in 2008 it was listed by the Bihar state government as an important heritage building .

It was the  Dutch, who came to this part as traders in the 17th century and established the colony. It was the Dutch East India company  that constructed the building with a view to using it as a godown. When the British took over this part under their control, they reused this building as Collectorate which   began functioning from its present premises from 1857 during the most difficult period - the raging Sepoy Mutiny. The British introduced British design elements in the building. The collectorate contained various offices related to district administration, including
of  Offices of the Additional District Magistrate & Deputy Collector. In the past also the collectorate was headed by the District Collector.

Despite the fact that it was a classified heritage site by the state government, in 2016, the Bihar Government, headed by Nitish Kumar  unmindful of its historical value wanted to pull down the  building.  There was wide-spread spirited protest by like minded people who wanted the government to preserve the heritage site for the future generation.

The Bihar chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), along with the Netherlands Embassy,  wrote  letters to the state government urging it to save the building.

London based Gandhi Foundation wrote to  CM Nitish Kumar to give up demolition of the Patna Colletorate which is a testimony to our cultural and historical link with the past colonial era and our co existence with the foreign power. "On behalf of the Gandhi Foundation, which exists to promote Mahatma Gandhi’s life and message in the UK, we are writing to appeal to you to save the 200-year-old Patna Collectorate, a vital part of your state’s architectural heritage, which is due to be demolished to make way for a high-rise development,” the letter says.