Govt decides to upgrade Town Hall to make it earthquake-proof
Kolkata: The state government has decided to strengthen the iconic Town Hall and upgrade it to an earthquake-proof structure while restoring it. The restoration work is expected to start in December.
According to a senior official of the state Public Works Department (PWD), the decision has been taken to restore the structure to an earthquake-proof one as they have come to know through different studies that the more than 200-year-old structure didn't have the sufficient strength to withstand if there is any case of tremor.
Moreover, the city has already witnessed a series of incidents of earthquakes, though of lesser intensity, in the past few years. In such circumstances the state government has gone a step ahead in deciding to restore the structure to an earthquake-proof one so that the heritage buildings don't get affected at any cost.
"When it has been recommended to restore the structure and when we have to do the work, then why will we not bear a bit more expense in ensuring that the building remains as it is for the next 200 years," said the official adding that accordingly, IIT Roorkee has prepared the detailed project report and the process of engaging the agency that will carry out the civil work is going on, which will be settled within a very short time and the work order will also be released soon so that the work can be started from December.
The official said that as per the planning, "fibre reinforced concrete" around the huge pillars in front of the Town Hall will strengthen it and at the same time, steel will be used to fix the structure of the roof with the pillars.
The engineers have found that the condition of the roof is also not in a good condition. So a portion of the roof also has to be restored. "There will be no change in the structure of the heritage building and all steps to strengthen the structure are being taken accordingly," the official said adding that they also held a meeting with experts from IIT Roorkee in this connection and there were detailed discussions with the experts in this regard.
The top brass of the PWD officials have recently visited Town Hall. Architects have been engaged and at the same time, the lighting arrangements in Town Hall will be done in such a way that it adds more elegance to its look, the official maintained, adding that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities have also been urged to shift the valuable articles in the Kolkata Museum situated in the Town Hall to some other place when the restoration work will be carried out.