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5 May 2017

New future awaits 3 crucial heritage buildings in state- Dr Graham's Home chapel, Mahishadal Rangibashan Rajbari, house of Alexander Duff

New future awaits 3 crucial heritage buildings in statePritesh Basu | MP |4 May 2017 | Kolkata: Perhaps preserving history and heritage not only mark the protection of the past but also indicate a pride of place for the future. 
Restoration of buildings which have fallen into despair can be a tedious task. But it is extremely important that it is done to preserve past glory and distinction. 
The Bengal Heritage Commission has taken up a project to restore three most crucial heritage buildings of the state, namely Mahishadal Rangibashan Rajbari, Dr Graham Home's Church in Kalimpong and the house of Alexander Duff on Nimtala Ghat Street. Members of the Commission had already held a meeting with officials of the state Public Works Department (PWD) and the restoration work will begin soon. 
All the three structures are in a dilapidated state at present. Several buildings with unique architecture had been developed in Mashidal in East Midnapore in the 18th century. Most of them were Rajbaris. At least 150-year-old Rangibashan Rajbari is the grandest among all. At present, the structure is lying abandoned and in a dilapidated condition. 
In Kalimpong, Dr Graham's Home was set up in the British era for destitute children and orphans. There is a century-old stone-made church situated adjacent to the home and it was heavily damaged during 2011 earthquake in Sikkim. 
It may be mentioned that breads, cakes and pastries were made by the orphans and were sold locally. These products had also become famous in Kolkata. 
The building was badly damaged in a devastating fire that broke out in the early 1990s. The GNLF had initial plans to restore Dr Graham's Home which they later dropped due to financial constrains. 
The third project is the house of Alexander Duff on Nimtala Ghat Street. The building once also housed Jorabagan police station. The police station was later removed as it was in a dilapidated state. 
Duff had established a college in the house to spread English education among Indians. In 1908, the then police commissioner Charles Tegart had turned the college to Jorabagan police station with the rise of revolutionary activities in north Kolkata. 
In 1980, Kolkata Municipal Corporation had declared the building "dilapidated" and subsequently Jorabagan police station was shifted. 
The Ministry of Culture has already granted funds for the project after going through the DPRs that the West Bengal Heritage Commission, which is under Information and Cultural Affairs Department, had sent, said member of the heritage commission Partha Ranjan Das. 
The executive engineer of PWD posted in north Bengal will be supervising the restoration work of the Dr Graham's Homes Church in Kalimpong and the work of Mahishadal Rangibashan Rajbari and house of Alexander Duff will be supervised by executive engineers in the western region and North 24-Parganas district. 
Construction Engineering Department of Jadavpur University has been engaged to give a detailed report on the present condition of the structures. On that basis, the concerned consultants will chalk out a plan. A tender will be floated to select a contractor. The heritage commission has empanelled contractors who receive training after every three to four months. 
The money will be disbursed through the state PWD. It is learnt that Rs 5 crore has been granted for restoration of Alexander Duff's house while Rs 6 crore each has been granted for Mahishadal Rangibashan Rajbari and Dr Graham Home's Church.

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