The British-era building on Jumboo Island, Odisha - yet to be conserved

It is quite amazing that there are  no Indian states  - be they small or big that do not have  have strong foot prints of  British presence. They may be in the form of collector's  building. court building or sub court building or even Thasildars'  office buildings, besides Dak houses, etc.

British era building, Jumboo Is. Odisha

Across India there are countless such colonial structures. many of which are being  used by the governments - both Central and State, but the rest are left uncared for.  At least, such structures can be barricaded  to avoid misuse by  vandals and trespassers.   Carrying out simple repair works such as clearing growth of wild bushes, plants, etc and plugging the cracks. will help the damaged building a lot. In a country like ours  useless redundant and bureaucratic regulations are in force and  such a  simple work is time-consuming.  States like West Bengal and Kerala and to some extent Tamil Nadu and Karnataka  are taking  steps  to boost tourism  and  conserve the old structures  retaining their heritage values.

Jumboo Island, Odisha.

Few years ago in 2018 the Odisha government  made a proposal to renovate the British-era building  on Jamboo island as part of Tourism developments. This project was to be undertaken  under the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Program  (ICZMP).

Colonial building, Odisha.

Located in Kendrapara district, this once a majestic  colonial structure is in a bad shape - dilapidation writ on all sides, with no wall plastering vegetation and plants  grow inside and outside the walls in many places.  It is further  accentuated during the heavy NE monsoon season every year. Persistent sea-air  with salt in the atmosphere is another culprit damaging the structure.  It looked as if it would fall at any time.  The vagarious of weather along with monsoon rains had taken a heavy toll on structure's  ceiling and the outer walls. That it has stood the test of time suggests that its foundation is very strong. 


Colonial building, Odisha.

The structure  in a serene  and  idyllic location was built in the early part of the 20th century to help the  navigators rest during their respite.  Already a detailed plan was drawn up and it is believed that this place would become an important  destination for the fun-loving tourist, further  the local people would get all the benefits.. "Jamboo is a colonial heritage site which has not been showcased properly till date. We are hopeful that heritage tourism would grow with the refurbishment of the dilapidated building," official said.

The official pointed out, if successfully implemented, this project would be just like  'the  near-by ''Hukitola'' colonial building that had been  conserved under ICZMP-funded project. The latter is attracting lots of  a eco-tourism destination. The Tourism official  strongly pins his hops on the Jamboo  project that has all the requirements of  potential eco-tourism spot.  It means more tourists will visit this place to be in a new eco friendly environment free from the din of urban and semi urban.

As the  structure is crumbling with walls having become weakened, meticulous care must be taken to retain the original  British  structural design  without deviation. Archaeologists were concerned about  retention of colonial features. 

Though  more than three years have gone by since the announcement was made officially by the Odisha government about the conservation of the British structure on the Jumboo  Island, it seems, no action is forthcoming. Is it in the cold storage? Tardy government regulations and unwanted paperwork  do not augur well for the government.