British - era heritage sites of Tamil Nadu - PWD identified 250 structures for restoration and reuse!!

Deputy Registrar's office, Rajaji salai,

Countless colonial buildings in Chennai carry heritage tag but invariably most of them need to be repaired and restored.  In the last more than two decades  there has been an awareness among the historians, heritage lovers and  the government to preserve and restore them and  reuse them. A survey conducted by the PWD covering numerous  century  old building except  for the Hindu religious and charitable endowments revealed that 90% of them  were built during colonial period. So was the residence of the royal family of Ramanathapuram.   Roughly 70% of the structures are in occupation by the government and they need to be restored and  conserved soon. As for the rest,  30% of them  are in  damaged state and their resurrection is a question mark.

Chennai Humayn Mahal (Chepauk palace)

Above image: Part of Chepauk Palace, Chennai. Humayn mahal Rs. 37 crore  was sanctioned for restoration.  It will be done with  guidance experts from IIT and other institutions..........

The PWD department in Chennai  that had been functioning in an old structure built  under the British Raj was   marked for  renovation and  in this connection  decision was taken way back in February 2018. Quire surprising is the fact in this once colonial city  and in other places  across the state as  many as 250  structures had been identified  the PWD  and they soon would get renovated and put back to old charm and splendor.  The PWD  which is actively involved in  heritage structures and their renovation in Tamil Nadu  would constitute a building center and conservation division. They  and  came up with an innovative  proposal to restore those old structures and put them back to reuse. This novel proposal has two-fold advantage  of preserving the heritage structures for posterity and at the same time carefully converting  them into government offices

In the list  of heritage structures  carefully  prepared by the authorizes,  Chennai  city tops the list with 54 structures followed by Kanyakumari and Didugul  districts  together with 21 sites. They are followed by Pudukkotai  district with 16 structures. The main purpose of the survey done by the PWD is  to identify   those  structures that are worthy of reuse. It means saving  prohibitive  construction cost on  modern buildings.  

In 2017 when the impressive Klaus Mahal, part of the famous Cheapauk  palace built by  Arcot Nawab, was severely damaged by a freak fire accident.  The guuted and other parts were  later it was restored with meticulous care with guidance from experienced conservationists. The project was completed without affecting the heritage elements in the old palace.  Offices of the southern bench of the National  Green Tribunal and the inquiry commission probing former CM J  Jayalalith's unexpected  death. Proposal was afoot to house 6 moreoffices including office of the project director for sand operations in the renovated structure. .

Above image: Govt. Printing press, Mint street, Chennai. Rs. 14 crore is set aside for renotion of this British era structure...........

The PWD  planned to go ahead with the conservation work on many structures in phases.  The first phase of restoration would cover 12 buildings across the state inclusive of three from Chennai. As for funds the  PWD approached the Tourism  Department . To renovate  Humayun Mahal  the estimate was around Rs. 37 crore.  The other two structures are the Printing Press building  on the Mint street and Former deputy General of   Registration on Rajaji salai in George Town.  The British-rea building on the Rajaji Salai  where  sub-registrar's office had been functioning for decades is now an abandoned site and it will undergo  conservation work soon. It may take a few years to complete the work on many structures.