Work starts for makeover of CU buildings
Kolkata: The Calcutta University (CU) has started work to renovate all the buildings on its main campus at College Street in a bid to ensure proper conservation of all these buildings as per its heritage value.
The state Public Works Department which is executing the work has consulted the West Bengal Heritage Commission (WBHC) and the entire process of renovation is being supervised by Partha Ranjan Das, heritage conservation architect of WBHC.
"The main purpose of preservation of heritage is to renovate the buildings in a way so that they maintain the look it had during its inception. Temporary constructions have come up inside the buildings here and there from time to time which does not go with the heritage. We are removing all encroachments that are deterrent to the heritage," said Sonali Chakravarti Bannerjee, vice chancellor of Calcutta University.
The verandahs of the buildings had turned into an eyesore with rooms for officers, attached toilets and similar constructions blocking the actual look of the balconies of heritage building. The four buildings that are being given a facelift are Asutosh Building, Darbhanga Building, Centenary Building and the Hardinge Building.
The Darbhanga Building erected in 1912 houses university offices, including the chambers of the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Registrar and the Controller of Examinations. The Asutosh Building unveiled in 1926 accommodates the postgraduate language and literature departments and the department of commerce.
The Senate House that was erected in 1872 and was the first habitation of the varsity was demolished in 1960. It used to provide the venue for Senate meetings, the chamber of the Vice-Chancellor, offices of the Registrar and also examination and lecture halls.
Elaborating on the renovation work, Kanakendu Sinha, superintending engineer (Presidency Circle) of the state PWD, said the work begun with through examination of the strength of the buildings. The Darbhanga Building was found to be in a weak condition with many old furniture, papers being dumped at the top floor of the building. "Most of these things being very old hardly had any value and were highly risky in terms of fire vulnerability too. All these things were brought down to reduce the load at the top before taking up the work. The university authorities had provided us with maps, drawings and similar material of the inception days which have helped us immensely in execution of the work," Sinha said.
The syndicate hall of the university has already seen a major facelift with air conditioning and video conference facilities. The photographs of 51 chancellors of the varsity till date has also been restored and put up on the wall of the syndicate room. The work that had started in the middle of 2018 is expected to be completed in the next four to five months.
"After the completion of the work on this campus we will undertake work to renovate our Rajabazar Science Campus which is also another heritage building," the Vice-Chancellor said.