Why is Gorton Castle, heritage colonial building, Shimla, HP not yet restored after 2014 fire mishap?

Gorton Castle, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. sunpost.in

Gorton Castle, Shimla  shimlaonline.in

Gorton Castle, Shimla  shimlaonline.in

 The capital city of Himachal Pradesh  State Shimla has the rare distinction of being home to countless colonial buildings for the simple reason it served as the summer capital of the Raj till the British had left India in August 1947. Yet another reason is its cool and English weather on the hills around it. Apart, there  were many wooded areas in that area   that could be explored by the adventurous European population living in that  part of India.  Many colonial buildings in Shimla   are declared as heritage sites  by the government, attracting travelers from all over Himachal Pradesh and far off places. There is no denying of the fact that such colonial structures  built in different European styles with elements of native style bear testimony to the creativity, ingenuity and organizational ability of the British. A large number of such buildings were built in  the Neo-Gothic architecture. As part of its century celebration (it was built in 1904),  Gorton Castle  was declared a heritage site by the government and in the same year  the postal department released a postal cover on the building. The castle was named as Gorton Castle after the name of the original owner of this site, Mr. Gorton, an ICS.

Gorton Castle, Shimla, HP. gettyimages.in
Built more than 116 years old  it is still a popular tourist site of Shimla.   Gorton Castle, a 3- story structure  where the office of the Account general   had been functioning after India's independence,  a  freak fire accident in January 2014 damaged  65 rooms out of 125 rooms  particularly on  top floors, including   the roof top.  Seven years have gone by since that unfortunate fire accident that was caused by a short-circuit,  only 30% of restoration work was completed acceding to media report (2019). This is not  withstanding the fact that a sum of Rs. 56 crore was granted several years ago by the government to save the English-styled building and restore it back to old glory.  The restoration work that  began in earnest in 2014  was supposed to be completed by 2018,  but still it is dragging on for no reason. The work is going on at a snail's phase!!  Why is this unwanted delay? The iconic  building remains uncared for in   the last several years.

Fire mishap. heritage site Gorton castle, Shimla. himachalwatcher.com

fire mishap heritage site Gorton castle, Shimla. himachalwatcher.com

Fire mishap. heritage site Gorton castle, Shimla. himachalwatcher.com

Fire mishap. Gorton castle, Shimla. himachalwatcher.com

Fire mishap. Gorton castle, Shimla, HP. himachalwatcher.com

Above images: 28th January, 2014: Fire accident at the heritage building Gorton Castle, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Reason: short-circuit. some army men claimed that they heard multiple cylinder blasts.   It drew the attention of the entire city as the building  is a fine piece of English architecture. Fire broke out around 3.30 am and could be contained only in the afternoon. The fire started  out from the front part of the fourth floor of the five story building and soon spread to lower levels.  Everything present on  top two floors, computers, record files and official documents, furniture etc. turned to ashes. The  iron grills, window glasses, and other  broken remnants came down, which could easily cause casualties. Fortunately, there was no  death. The army men arrived first and provided initial emergency medical help. The loss as a result of the fire  will be running into crores in terms of structural damages, office equipment, etc ...............
Shimla, HP, India. allindiatravelinfo.com

The reasons attributed  for the delay of restoration are paucity of funds allocated for the restoration project and inordinate delay on the part of AG's office to vacate and move over to other building so that restoration work could be started in those uncovered areas and that  would help  complete  the work as early as possible. Yet another problem being faced by the  authorities  is the ever-increasing inflation, higher cost of construction materials and labor.  The PWD is entrusted with the restoration work and the engineers in charge say that they have completed those rooms that were gutted in the freak fire  accident in 2014.  Restoration work will resume only if the Audits and Account General office's records departments, etc.,  will shift to elsewhere make the space available to the PWD. The AG's office  moved in here  for the first time in 1954.

Heritage site Gorton Castle, Shimla. myholidayhappiness.com
The most impressive part of this heritage structure is its majestic appearance that has has all the ingredients of a classical English building in a rural area of England.  Sir Swinton Jacob. was the architect who designed countless attractive buildings in India especially the Albert Hall in Jaipur and St. Stephen's college near Kashmere gate, Delhi. The chalet-like appearance with a large well designed portico  and  a decorative frieze, well noticeable bay windows on the sides, the solid  grey stone walls hemmed-in by square as well as  high-pitched pointed mini-towers  give credence to a structure set in a serene English village far removed from the urbane mess. The 3 -story building with rooms of various sizes, is surrounded by timber blocks mostly of Rosewood and  huge Deodar Trees. The top roof once had red tiles that were later replaced with galvanized red iron sheets to retain the original look. The balconies of Gorton Castle  are quite impressive because they are decorated with  intricately designed  jalli  work, native to  Rajasthan. It is in the prime area of Shimla, close to the Mall.