Dutch-era Record Room building demolished, eight pillars preserved

Patna, Jan 29 (IANS): The Dutch-era Record Room building in the Patna Collectorate which featured in movie 'Gandhi' that won eight Academy Awards, has been demolished, but eight pillars of the historic structure have been preserved.

The 300-year-old building, situated on the banks of Ganga river near Anta Ghat, was spread across 12 acre lands with massive doors, attractive ceilings, skylights and pillars. It was used as record rooms by Dutch as well as district magistrate offices.

The Bihar government had proposed the demolition of the historic structure in 2016 and construction of a high-rise complex, drawing huge criticism from all sections, including historians, conservation architects, scholars and Gandhians. Even the Dutch High Commissioner to India and the London-based Gandhi Foundation asked the Bihar government to avoid demolition.

A Delhi-based heritage body INTACH had filed a petition in Patna High Court in 2019 seeking a heritage site status for the structure. After losing the case in 2020, INTACH moved the Supreme Court which granted a stay on September 18, 2020. However, the Supreme Court finally rejected INTACH's plea on May 13, 2022, paving way for its demolition.

The Patna High Court in its judgement had allowed for demolition but directed not to bulldoze the pillars.

The demolition first started on May 14, 2022 and part of the portion was demolished by May 17, 2022. The complex had eight buildings, of which two were constructed post independence.

"We have shifted the important documents to a new building. We have preserved the pillars. The construction of the new building has already begun and once it will be completed you can see the modern and the ancient buildings. We will also display the important documents as well," said an officer of the building construction department.

Ironically, the complex is still mentioned as a cultural site on the official website of Bihar tourism.

In 'Gandhi', the Record Room building was featured as Motihari jail while the British-Era district magistrate office which was demolished in June last year, was dressed up as a courtroom to film the Champaran trial.



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Title: Dutch-era Record Room building demolished, eight pillars preserved

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