Restoration work smudges Kangla’s original look

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Imphal, July 05 2017: The ongoing work of restoring Kangla has been ironically obliterating its original features, structures and appearance .

On the other hand, the area covered by Kangla Fort has shrunk considerably .

Notably, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh handed over Kangla Fort to the State Government on November 20, 2004 after it was kept under the occupation of Assam Rifles .

As per records, the area covered by Kangla is 237.62 acres, informed an official source .

Soon after Assam Rifles vacated Kangla Fort, the State Government surveyed its area two times including its surrounding moats and it was found that the area of Kangla had shrunk by over 10 acres .

Even though the shrinking of Kangla Fort’s area could not be seen outwardly, Imphal River has been continuously eroding Kangla’s land, particularly so during floods thereby shrinking Kangla’s total area, said one key member of Kangla Fort Board .

The historic fort’s total area would continue to diminish until a retaining wall is constructed along its eastern boundary from Kekrupat to Sanjenthong .

Some people, after crossing Imphal River, have been stealing jackfruits and bamboo soots (Ushoi) from inside Kangla, said the official .

The total area of Kangla was 237.62 in 1991 when it was declared as a protected area.

The area was found unchanged when it was surveyed in 2000 .

Meanwhile, Slim Cottage which was once occupied by Allied Forces’ Commander Field Marshal WG Slim is being restored.

But the restoration work has been inadvertently obliterating the original look .

Slim Cottage was built in 1901 and its roof was covered by asbestos sheets.

But the asbestos sheets are being replaced by Dyna roof.

Notably, during a meeting of the Kangla Fort Board, PWD officials said that asbestos sheets are not durable and they are hazardous to health.

Yet, many members of the Kangla Fort Board pointed out that the more than 100 years old structure was still intact except for some minor damages.

They suggested restoration of the Cottage to its original structure and appearance as heritage .

Geometrical designs sculpted on the Govindaji Temple of Kangla have been removed in the process of restoring the temple.

The geometrical designs were left out because the temple was re-constructed after it collapsed completely .

The geometrical designs were seen in the photographs available at the British Museum, informed the official .

Other photographs of Kangla available at the British Museum showed four entrances to the Brindabanchandra Temple but there are no four entrances in the newly restored temple .

Durbar Hall which should be a key feature of Kangla has not been re-constructed yet, the official added.

Source: The Sangai Express

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