Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday inaugurated the renovated building of the century old Town Hall, a marvel of British architecture on the Mall Road in Shimla.
However, it is yet to be decided as to for what purpose the newly renovated structure would be used as there is a difference of opinion on its use between the Shimla Municipal Corporation and the state government.
The issue related to the possession and use of the Town Hall is still pending in the High Court and the Chief Secretary had already filed an affidavit, clarifying the government’s stand on the entire issue.
The government under the ADB project has spent Rs 7 crore on the renovation of this historic structure.
Talking to mediapersons after inauguration, Thakur said Town Hall is one of the historical structures of British era and after its renovation for the first time, it is all set to regale the tourists and locals alike with refreshed look.
The project was sent for funding to Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2011 and the renovation work was started three years ago.
“Earlier, the Mall Road donned incomplete as the restoration of the Town Hall was underway and it looked quite unpleasant besides the newly renovated Gaiety Theatre with its new refreshed look,” he said.
After completion, the tourist town of Shimla would get a different and magnificent look during the night after illumination of the Gaiety Theatre, Town Hall, Scandal Point, Ashiana at The Ridge, Christ Church, State Library and Chinar Tree.
Besides the inauguration of Town Hall, Thakur also inaugurated parking complex near Tutikandi Bus Stand to facilitate tourists visiting Shimla.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the Tudor-style Town Hall building has been restored to its original look within 2 years and 11 months under the ADB funded project and was carried out by the state Tourism Department.
The renovation of the Town Hall building, which earlier used to house Municipal Corporation Shimla, has been done as per the Archeological Survey of India norms, being a heritage structure.
Instead of cement, Lime Surkhi and deodar wood form Dehradun laboratory has been used for the better life of the building. Its exteriors and interiors has refurbished by polishing and repairing the stonework.
Officials involved in restoration work, said this is the first time after the town hall is opened in 1908 that the restoration process take place, and now the life of this building increased for the next 100 years.
During British era, the town hall used to be the center of Shimla city and it was designed by Henry Irwin, the renowned architect who designed many other building in colonial India.
The original town hall was built in 1860. In the original construction, it had every small element that was needed to cater the then British Society in the town.