Thursday, 22 March 2018

Meropolitan building, a colonial heritage site, Kolkata needs proper care and restoration.

Metropolitan bldg. Kolkata. Roy02 - DeviantArt
Kolkata. Corner tower, metropolitan building. Indrosphere
Calcutta (Kolkata) was once the colonial capital of British India under the East India company and later under the British crown. Obviously countless beautiful buildings in European style sprang up across the city over a period of time as the need for the educational, administrative and judiciary work required more space to match the growth and development of the city and its communities. Though the  capital was shifted to Delhi in the early 1900s, the great building were in use and was well taken care of. After independence in August 1947, the new Indian government, bogged down with many problem, including financial constrains had to carry on their government work, etc.,  on a shoe-sting budget and in the process maintaining countless colonial buildings, ancient monuments, etc across the vast land became a tough problem for them. Unfortunately, many of them, on account of negligence and paucity of funds fell into ruins.   

On Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Kolkata near Esplanade. one can not miss a majestic building  built   in  no-baroque style with nicely presented  with domes, a clock tower, and arched recessed windows. During the colonial rule it was a beehive of activities and was always crowded because it housed a famous  fashionable department store called   the White way Laid-law department store, then a famous department store in Calcutta. The store operated on cash and carry basis and no credit was allowed. Founded by  by two enterprising  Scotsmen in 1882, it became a  famous department store across India and also in Far East. It had branches in many major Indian cities like Bombay Chennai (Madras), Shimla and in cities like Lahore (Pakistan), Colombo, Burma etc.
Metropolitan Building Kolkata,ielegraphindia.com

Chowrangee road, Metropolitan bldg. Kolkata  Alamy
A fire mishap in 1991 on  top floor caused much damage and reduced to ashes hundreds of original negatives of Bourne and Shepherd,  believed to be the world’s oldest operational photography studio established in the late 19th century. Later major restoration work was done by LIC,in the 2000s,
Colonial city Kolkata. metropolitan bldg. Amazing India Stock Photos
trying hard to  retain the old heritage value as much as possible. But the media  wrote, the work was not done with care, giving least attention to conservation norms. The exterior of the building was painted with dazzling white coat and the interior work was not given, it is said, due importance; restoration work was shabby and the new  wall plastering was peeling off. The Italian marble flooring was removed for no reason. The roof of the atrium  was adorned with stained glass which collapsed in the past.  Some major work needs to be done on the floor that has a big depression which  is  barricaded. Seepage in the area where wood work was redone has to be taken care of. Balconies with ornamental works need to be restored to old style. Cupolas need to be painted with suitable color and the gold color will be a miss match and tarnish the image of the building.  The  2010 
repainting work has not improved the look of the building.  Unless major structural damages are taken care of, this heritage building may lose its value.  Proper restoration plan is a must before execution. Like in the Western countries, with respect to restoration of heritage building, its color, plastering work, etc., should match the old structure and these should not be changed arbitrarily.
https://www.telegraphindia.com/1100907/jsp/calcutta/story_12905986.jsp