Britishera Town Hall returns to MC City museum proposed

first_imgShimla: Almost a year after its restoration, the British-era Town Hall, one of Shimla’s monumental buildings, will finally go back to Shimla Municipal Corporation — its legitimate owner though will locate the only office of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, a condition imposed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court.Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, flanked by Chief Secretary Srikant Baldi and Shimla Mayor Kusum Sadret on Sunday visited the Town Hall and inspected room-by-room space. More than a century-old Gothic-style building is a favourite haunt for the tourists. But this has remained unoccupied due to High Court orders. “The building has gone complete restoration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding to the tune of Rs 8 crore. We don’t want the landmark building to suffer ruins and thus need to be used for the benefit of the citizens, tourists and stake-holders. I am happy the High Court has allowed it to be handed back to the Shimla MC though only Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be able to get offices here,” he told the Millennium Post, after spending 45 minutes at the complex. Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu and Commissioner Pankaj Rai briefed the Chief Minister about orders of the High Court and made suggestions as to how the ground floor and top floor can best be used for the tourists and citizens. “If the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the High Court gives us some concessions, we will like to install a lift for the top storey for its use as city museum while the lower storey will remain as an activity area, besides having commercial use of the space,” he said. Town Hall is a grand old legacy. Its condition had turned very bad thus the state government got ADB funding for major restoration works from floor to the ground, besides re-creating an old charm of architectural importance and woodwork inside the building. But lobbying has begun within the Municipal Corporation as Councillors, more than 40 in number, also want space in the building while the Commissioner also has taken up the issue to set-up a camp office. “We may have to approach the High Court afresh and inform about we practical difficulties. I am, however, in any case, will move to the building on September 29 along with Deputy Mayor,” said Sadret. There are possibilities for the building having a high-end cafe shop, information centre and a boutique of traditional crafts and arts for tourists. Terming the Town Hall as “priceless architectural marvel”, the High Court has reminded the government of its responsibility to maintain the historic landmark building, located on the Mall road as also being a major tourists’ attraction. Earlier in 2017, the High Court had opined that the important heritage building could be used either as a city museum or a library rather than leaving it at the mercy of the ‘babus’ by allowing a public office to run from there.last_img

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