Colonial building poised for makeover

Kendrapara: A majestic colonial building dating back to British Raj is poised for makeover through World Bank funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme (ICZMP) in Odisha.

The building that bears the signature of British structural designing is wallowing in seaside ‘Jamboo’ village in Kendrapara district. Lying in abandoned state, the historic structure is on the verge of collapse.

Vagaries of nature have taken a heavy toll on it. The salinity content in atmosphere of the place has led to wear and tear of the building which was properly maintained till independence. After British left, it was reduced to an object of neglect. Nothing was done for its periodic maintenance.

Built during the early 20th century, the building with its majestic structural technology served as the rest house for navigators because of strategic location of the place.

“The dilapidated building is being refurbished under coastal heritage restoration plan of ICZMP. The estimated cost of the renovation project is worth Rs 60 lakh. The restoration work would get underway by December under the direct supervision of state archaeology department (SAD),” said Curator, SAD, Ashwini Kumar Satpathy.

The building is in a very bad shape. It might fall to pieces if subjected to repair. Plan is to dismantle it completely for its rebuilding. All care would be taken to maintain its original colonial characteristics, he said.

“The colonial building was in perfect shape till the sixties. The visitors and tourists used to spend the night there. In fact its sylvan surroundings were a major attraction for tourists. But the government agencies were apathetic towards it. It underwent corrosion and wear and tear. Now the building reminding one of rich maritime history of this region may crumble any moment,” described Bijoy Shukla, a former Sarpanch of ‘Jamboo’ gram panchayat.

“Under ICZMP, emphasis has been laid on to preserve the heritage of coastal area and promote community-based heritage tourism, which would create livelihood opportunity for coastal communities and create self-employment,” said Kendrapara Collector Durga Prasad Behera.

With the renovation of the colonial building, the place would turn into a destination for tourists. With inflow of tourists to the place, it would augment to income sources of local people, he said. ‘Jamboo’ is a colonial heritage site which has not been showcased properly till date. We are hopeful that heritage tourism would grow with the refurbishment of the dilapidated building, he added.

Under the ICZMP the local coastal community especially from the marine fishermen folk would be active participants of this heritage site development program.