Patna: The state government has launched a special drive to protect the old buildings of Patna University (PU) having architectural elegance. The Bihar State Educational Infrastructural Development Corporation (BSEIDC) has started a thorough repair and renovation of all these buildings after discussion with the PU authorities on Tuesday.
BSEIDC managing director Sanjeevan Sinha pointed out that the buildings were being repaired under the supervision of expert architects so that their original architectural designs are not disturbed. Funds are no constraint as the government is keen on preserving these “heritage buildings”.
All these buildings, including of Patna College, Darbhanga House, Wheeler Senate House and PU office, are heritage sites in their own right, both in terms of age and significance of shaping the lives of the students for the last several decades. Even though the buildings are yet to be officially accorded heritage tag by the Archaeological Survey of India, the state government has adopted them as heritage structures and has been spending crores of rupees for their upkeep and maintenance.
The 151-year-old Patna College is not only the oldest institution of higher education in Bihar but also a mother of host of institutions, including Patna Law College, Bihar College of Engineering (now NIT Patna) and Patna Science College. The main college building was originally a Dutch factory in the 17th century and it also served as the local collectorate. The first session of Bihar legislative council was held here more than 100 years ago.
Located on a picturesque site along the bank of the Ganga, Darbhanga House, the centre of postgraduate teaching and research in PU, is the palace that the Maharaja of Darbhanga had built over 100 years ago. The building built in 1901 on a 15 acre plot has two wings: the Raja Block and Rani Block, located on either sides of the famous Kali Temple.
In 1955, the entire complex was handed over to PU by the erstwhile maharaja on payment of Rs 7 lakh. Barring a few alterations, the building remains the same with numerous terraces, long covered verandas, ornamental carved friezes and carpeted wooden staircases. On seeing the Darbhanga House complex, an American professor from Harvard University had once observed that it was really a challenge for PG teachers of PU as they needed to make their lectures interesting enough to keep the attention of students from wandering to the beautiful banks of the river flowing alongside.
Of late, PU vice-chancellor Y C Simhadri has launched a drive to get all the unauthorized constructions mushrooming in and around these heritage buildings removed. He has directed the principals of colleges and heads of PG departments to ensure that nobody encroaches upon the university land.