Kendrapara, Dec 7 (LocalWire): A century-old colonial-era building at Ranapada locality within Kendrapara town, near river Gobari, is on the verge of collapse.
When the Kendrapara canal was dug in 1868 for the purposes of navigation and irrigation after the infamous drought ‘Naanka’ had devastated the state, the one-storied building having 12 rooms had been constructed to serve as a residence for the officials of the irrigation department, said Dr. Basudev Das, a researcher on Kendrapara.
The building, which covers an acre of land, was functioning as the official residence of the Sub-Divisional Officer of the irrigation department.
However, 5 years ago the irrigation department declared the building unsafe and moved the residence of the officer to another building.
Since then, local miscreants have ransacked the building on multiple occasions and taken away the Burmese teak made doors, windows and other accessories.
“The officials are not paying any heed to our pleas to renovate the building. We do not want the building to be demolished as many villagers saved their lives during 1967, 1971, and 1999 cyclones by staying here,” said Amir Ali, a local villager from Ranapada.
“Kendrapara has many significant heritage sites, including the 155-year-old Kendrapara high school, 122-year-old Diamond Jubilee Public library, 110-year-old palace in Rajkanika, 142-year-old Hukitola building, 145-year-old Jamboo building, a 186-year-old lighthouse in Batighar Gram Panchayat, 130-year-old Sun-Clock at Kendrapara town and others.
However, these structures need renovation and maintenance and it will not be long before they become irreparable.
The apathy of the government has left these structures languishing in neglect and facing the threat of being lost into oblivion,” said Biswanath Behera, a retired engineer from Kendrapara.
When contacted, Prabodha Kumar Rout, the Executive Engineer of the irrigation department of Kendrapara said, “The building will be demolished to give way to the new spacious quarters for the employees of the irrigation department.”