Kolkata abounds in heritage buildings that dot the city landscape mostly in the north and central part. Many of them like the Writers Building, the GPO or the Corporation Building are in regular use, and though the interiors have been infringed upon without adequate planning, the outside at least retains the old grandeur.
Yet there are many that have lost their luster, their charm caught in the labyrinth of callousness toward them and lack of knowledge to take proper care.
The situation has now changed for better. There are reports that the city’s heritage buildings are being increasingly eyed at by property developers with intention to develop them.
After Great Eastern changed hands with late Lalit Suri’s Bharat Hotels Group planning to open it soon redone and renovated, Singapore’s Wellside Group has been quick off the ground acquiring Lady Ranu Mukherjee’s palatial mansion on Ho Chi Minh Sarani to convert it to a heritage hotel keeping the exterior intact.
Keeping with the changes in the offing, the state government too has in a bill submitted to the assembly July 3 proposed to remove its shackles around the West Bengal Heritage Commission (WBHC). Once the bill becomes a statute, WBHC will be able to function independently and with greater authority.
In all likelihood Kolkata will soon witness spurt in real estate activity at the heritage buildings. Already the Statesman House at Chowringhee is in the thick of talks of being considered by Emaar MGF Land Pvt Ltd, a Dubai-based property developer, for conversion into a swanky mall.
The future of Kolkata’s heritage looks rosy indeed. Let’s rejoice that.