The latest state budget of Tamil Nadu may bring in smiles on the face of heritage conservationists as it has allocated funds to restore heritage buildings on three college campuses in the state. These century old buildings are badly in need of funds for restoration. A fund of Rs26 crore has been allocated for restoration of heritage buildings in Queen Mary’s College, Victoria Hostel in Presidency College and Government Arts and Science College in Kumbakonam.
The 117-year-old Victoria Hostel of Presidency College despite being listed as a Grade I heritage structure in the Justice E Padmanabhan Committee report is in desperate need of funds for its makeover. Leaking pipes, peeling paint and crumbling walls all point towards poor condition of the century old building in need of urgent repair and restoration. Though the state government had sanctioned some amount for its restoration earlier, the amount allocated was considered insufficient to carry out the restoration work. It is hoped that the latest budget has allocated enough funds for the project.
Established in 1914, Queen Mary’s College has several century-old buildings on its campus and has overcome and survived a demolition threat in 2003 to make way for new secretariat complex. However, mention of Queen Mary’s College in the latest budget for restoration work has come as a big relief for the heritage lovers of the city.
The Government Arts and Science College in Kumbakonam is one among the first four Indian Educational Institutions started by the British. This college was started as a Provincial School in October 1854 even before the establishment of the Madras University. Its building was built in 1875 and the state budget has rightly included it for allocating funds for restoration.