Patna Collectorate building - a heritage site facing demolition !!

Patna collectorate, Patna The Telegraph

Close to the Gandhi maidan and on the banks of the river Ganges stands yet another colonial building - Patna Collectorate or District Collectorate,  which is administrative head office of Collector of Patna district in Patna (district headquarters). This structure more than 200 years old is built in British and Dutch style and in 2008 it was listed by the Bihar state government as an important heritage building. It meant it was to be preserved for the posterity. What happed in the later years was just opposite - to erase the historical link of city with the old colonial era.

It was the  Dutch, who came to this part as traders in the 17th century and established the colony. It was the Dutch East India company  that constructed the building with a view to using it as a godown to store Opium and  saltpeter. When the British took over this part under their control after a long struggle, they reused this building as Collectorate which   began functioning from its present premises from 1857 during the most difficult period - the raging Sepoy Mutiny. The British introduced British design elements in the building. The collectorate contained various offices related to district administration, including
of  Offices of the Additional District Magistrate & Deputy Collector. In the past also the collectorate was headed by the District Collector. Among the various parts the large Record Room and Engineers' office  were built by the Dutch who effectively used the riverine port at Patna which was once the hub of trade activities by various European powers. 

Despite the fact that it was a classified heritage site by the state government, in 2016, the Bihar Government, headed by Nitish Kumar  unmindful of its historical value wanted to pull down the  building.  In that place the ruling ministry wanted to have a modern building constructed  to take care of space crunch and to put all the government departments under one roof. There was wide-spread spirited protest by like minded people who wanted the government to preserve the heritage site for the future generation.

The Bihar chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), along with the Netherlands Embassy,  wrote  letters to the state government urging it to save the building and later filed a petition in the Patna High Court to stop the demolition.

Also joined in the group to save the old collectorate building was the  London based Gandhi Foundation which in July 2016  wrote to  CM Nitish Kumar to give up demolition of the Patna Colletorate,  a testimony to our cultural and historical link with the past colonial era and our co existence with the foreign power. "On behalf of the Gandhi Foundation, which exists to promote Mahatma Gandhi’s life and message in the UK, we are writing to appeal to you to save the 200-year-old Patna Collectorate, a vital part of your state’s architectural heritage, which is due to be demolished to make way for a high-rise development,” the letter says.