Visakhapatnam Collector's office - a heritage structure built by the Dutch company

.Visakhapatnam District collectorate building, AP.

The  collector  during the Raj was the head of the district administration, his multifarious duties include  revenue organization,  settlement of disputes,  management of indebted estates; loans to agriculturists,  famine relief, etc. The district administration, a legacy of the British rule, wss first introduced by  Warren Hastings in 1772. District collectors were invariably trained professionals in the area of administration  and they belonged to Indian Civil Service (ICS). To get qualified  for ICS, they had to take tough competitive  civil  service commission exams held in England  after completion  specified subjects at  a few well-known British  universities. 

Vizag district collectorate, AP.
Above image: During the freedom struggle, many freedom fighters from Andhra wanted the British to quit India. Some of them took to violence as a way to intimidate the white settlers.  It was from this building in 1920  a notorious  British Collector Rutherford  devised a plan to trap live or dead  Alluri Seetharamaraju –a popular  revolutionary from this region who gave them nightmares.......... 

During the Raj the  collectorate  functioned in a spacious building specifically built for the purpose of district administration carrying on an array of various administrative work, including paper works  in one place.

Visakhapatnam  District Collector office building

The Gothic-styled impressive  E-shaped Collector’s Office building in Maharanipeta, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh  is a heritage structure  designed and built by Dutch engineering company Gannon Dunkerly in 1865. The work on the building was  taken up in stages and after a long spell of time roughly 49 years later  the building was completed  by 1914; part of the reason for the delay might have been  due to availability of funds for the project.  

During the 2014 cyclone Hudhud,   the old  structure was  damaged in some parts and subsequently they were rectified.  It was designed like a castle with  buttressed porch,  tall circular turrets covering all the three floors, and even a crenelated parapet. it is a  fine example of European - styled architecture  wirh  big court yards, spacious corridors on either side, impressive vintage stairways to access the higher floors and grand spacious rooms with arched doorways and  big windows.  This building that stands apart in the neighborhood  in Vizag carries the legacy of British empire and their tradition of carrying on the administration in a grand style from a stylish building matching their supremacy and assertiveness. 

The 3-story structure's elegance is further enhanced by open arches in the rooms on all floors symmetrically similar  circular turrets,  with a pyramidal roof atop.   The fine-looking  square-pavilions have three square turrets at  all its outer three corners.  The portico  is designed at the center of the main-block.

Vizag Collectorate building, AP.

01. This year in August this heritage collectorate building celebrated 74th year of Independence Day and the tricolour was hoisted atop the building. Tradition has been that the National Flag is hoisted every day at the Collector’s office, but August 15 has a unique significance. 

02. It  was on  15 August 1913 the building was inaugurated and occupied by the then District Collector L.T. Harris. 

03. Paradoxically, 34 years later on the same day Indian National Flag was hoisted on the  same flag-post  by a  member of INTACH  and history buff  of Vizag   Paul.  

04. According to Paul  on 15 August 1947 the Union Jack was brought down from the same flag post for the first time since the building was inaugurated and our National Flag hoisted by the then District Collector A.H. Southern, who was also a Britisher.

05. In 1756  Visakhapatnam and the Northern Circars came under the control of the East India company from Mogul ruler Shah Alam II as per the firmans issued by him and later in 1758  by the Nawab of Hyderabad, Mir Nizam Ali Khan, Asaf Jah II.

06. In 1803 Visakhapatnam district was formed  and  the first District  Collector was L.G.K. Murray. The collector office functioned in various locations before moving into a permanent location.