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Historic Town Hall building to become earthquake-proof

PTI | Kolkata |

The West Bengal government has decided to strengthen the Tuscan pillars of the historic Town Hall building here and make it earthquake-proof, officials said.

This will be a part of the building’s restoration project, they said.

The decision of strengthening the 204-year-old building was taken, on the basis of the advice given by experts from IIT Roorkee, since the city witnessed a series of mild tremors in the last couple of years, a senior official at the Public Works Department (PWD) said.

“There has been a series of mild earthquakes in the city in the past few years. Experts from IIT Roorkee have prepared a detailed report for restoring the structure, and the decision for earthquake-proofing is based on it,” the official told PTI.

The PWD would put fibre-reinforced concrete around the giant six Tuscan pillars, as a part of the strengthening process, as advised by the IIT experts.

“We will be using steel to fix the roof with pillars to ensure that the building is strong enough to withstand an earthquake,” he said.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will complete the entire process within 18 months.

The civic authority has dismantled the museum, Kolkata Panorama in the Town Hall.

Popularly known as India’s first hi-tech story-telling museum, it used to depict the evolution of the city.

There is a plan to change the entire lighting of the building also, the officer said.

The Town Hall, designed by architect-engineer Major General John Garstin, was paid for by public lottery.

There were problems of flooding and subsidence in the building even after its inauguration in the early 19th century.

In 1867, the Town Hall came under the custody of the Calcutta Municipality, now known as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

It was partly renovated in 1897.

The two-storied building was earlier used for public meetings, receptions, balls, and concerts.