The old Harbor Police station, George Town, Chennai - the Colonial structure needs urgent conservation!!

Colonial structure in ruins, George Town,

The  one-story building (shown above) on Rajaji salai, George town of Chennai, TN  once housed one of the oldest police stations and it s now in a dilapidated state due carelessness on the part of the city officials who just do not care about the heritage value of such public buildings regardless of their size and location.  One could see the overgrowth of vegetation  around the structure and as the tree roots, etc., got  deep into the old walls, due to root-wedging cracks were developed on the walls. The redbrick walls have poor strength to prop up the battered roof.

Location George Town, Chennai, Tamil

Above image:   The name Chennai is of Telugu origin and  was derived from  a Telugu ruler, Damarla Mudirasa Chennappa Nayakudu, father of Damarla Venkatapathy Nayak, a Nayak ruler who served as a general under Venkata III of the Vijayanagar Empire. The the British - East India Company acquired the town in 1639. Francis Day of the East India led the negotiations with the Vijayanagara rulers. On 22 August, he secured the land grant from local Nayak (Damarla Venkatadri Nayaka and his younger brother Aiyappa Nayaka) rulers.  Following year,  the Company built  Fort St. George, the first major English settlement in India to expand their trade activities. From this humble beginning Britain became a big Empire using India as a spring board. By 1900, the entire Indian subcontinent was under the British ( ..........................

This abandoned building may come down soon as there is no remedy for the official apathy over conservation of such buildings. Steps are not taken in earnest to save this small, but important building. This wonton negligence pushed the erstwhile harbor police station  to a sate from which restoration will be a tough job. It is almost on the verge of collapse.

A few heritage structures in the city are being conserved by the PWD agency  in response to public apathy,  but this building owned by the Chennai Port trust needs immediate attention  to prevent it from further destruction. The then police station was attached to the state and central agencies . Five years ago the police station functioning here  was shifted to some other building within George town and since it departure, this building has been in a state of neglect. Believed to have been built between 1898 and 1902 in Indo- Saracenic style, its  official jurisdiction was mainly confined to crimes at sea.

In Chennai several colonial buildings are in a shambles, primary cause is official apathy coupled with red tape. . Two reasons cause the delay; 01. Availability of funds for restoration. Getting funds allegation and approval  from the Metropolitan Authority may take time.  02. Once funds are available, the govt. office functioning in part of the building has to get a suitable space to move out.  Depending on the controlling authority either PWD or  ASI - Archaeological Survey of India (Chennai circle) might take care of the restoration work to comply with certain regulations of heritage buildings. In the case of the old police station building, it is vacant and what they need is adequate funds to save it from total loss.

As far as the structure on Rajaji Salai is concerned, the hitch is mainly due to funds crunch. Sooner the authorities make the funds available, earlier the  dilapidated old structure can be put back to old charm.