Renovation of Victoria town hall begins

Sambalpur: Renovation of the heritage Victoria Town Hall building here for which the state tourism department has sanctioned Rs 1.44 crore has began.

The task of renovation of the century-old building, which began yesterday, has been entrusted with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), officials said.

“It is planned to develop the building into a cultural centre where a museum will be developed. Besides restoration work, there is a plan for exterior beautification of the building, said district Collector Samarth Verma.

It is considered to engage a private agency to operate the proposed museum after restoration work is completed, he said.

A member of INTACH’s Sambalpur Chapter, Deepak Panda said Queen Victoria died in 1901 and the British Government decided to establish buildings after her name in different places in India and Sambalpur was one of them.

The foundation stone of the building here was laid in 1902. The then superintending engineer of central province, J B Leven Thorpey prepared the design and Chief Commissioner of the central province, J P Hewety inaugurated the building in 1904, he said.

The building was later used for different purposes. A school, office of Sambalpur Development Authority and a women s college had once functioned in the building, he said.