The Global Bengal Business Summit this month is about to witness participation of representatives from around 10 eminent French companies while several events are in line on account of Bonjour India 2017-18- a four month long voyage across India, in Bengal.

Addressing a Press conference, the French Consul-General in Kolkata, Mr Damien SYED said, “The Global Bengal Business Summit is going to witness participation of representatives from around 10 renowned French companies.

France is a partner country for this year’s summit. We are looking for more opportunities in Bengal. Bonjour India has provided a perfect platform to celebrate the bilateral and cordial ties between both countries.”

Bonjour India which started in last November and would continue till February this year, covers around 100 projects in 33 cities across 20 states and union territories. In this edition, Bonjour India is coming for the first time in Chandernagore to celebrate the French connection.

It would focus on conservation of heritage buildings in Chandernagore that are on the verge of being brought down or collapse due to lack of conservation. The Statesman had earlier reported that few of the buildings have already been razed down by promoters while others are yet to receive the heritage status.

A workshop is being conducted as part of the ‘Bonjour India’ endeavour named ‘Know your French Heritage’ which is being spearheaded by UNESCO awardee conservation architect Ms Aishwarya Tipnis.

Speaking on the matter, Ms Tipnis said “Conservation of heritage should be a collaborative approach with collective effort. Our attempt to conserve the French buildings in Chandernagore has been on for the last seven years. It is time when heritage conservation should transform from ‘expert driven’ to ‘community led’ and to make it successful, we are including all the citizens of Chandernagore to be a part of this endeavour through crowd funding.”

Ms Tipnis has been instrumental in implementing the restoration workshop for the Registry Office or ‘House of the Moon’ which was declared unsafe and set for demolition. There are around 99 French buildings in Chandernagore out of which around 11 have been granted the heritage status.

Talking on the issue, Mr SYED said “It is disheartening to find that these buildings are either being razed down or lying in a decrepit condition. However, the community residing there is being made further aware through participation in these workshops.”

Fabrice Plancon, director, Alliance Francaise, Kolkata said “ On 12 January , the Ambassador of France in India , Mr Alexandre ZIEGLER and his delegation will take a boat ride to Chandernagore and participate in the workshop in a first ever restoration exhibition on the Strand.

The evening will showcase ‘Metajingle’-a multi-disciplinary Indo-French performance mixing juggling , dance and poetry by Francois Chat followed by a closing dinner in the presence of a designated minister from the state government.”

The Institut francais, the Consulate general of France and the Alliance francaise du Bengale will organise 20 events in Kolkata and Chandernagore including unique ‘adda sessions’, seminal debates, jugglery, jazz concerts, theatre and virtual exhibitions .