The homeless migrant labourers hailing from different parts of the country have started renovation and restoration work of over century-old building, ‘Bantony Castle’, the British era building, amid the fourth phase of coronavirus lockdown. Unemployed migrant labourers who wanted to return to their native places decided to stay back as the renovation and restoration work of the over century-old building from the British era commenced. The workers also informed that due to certain restrictions in the lockdown there is a shortage in material supply that can hamper their work.
The restoration work to convert Bantony Castle into a vibrant place and promote the concept of night tourism was suggested by Kavita Jain, a Conservation Architect from Jaipur. She has the experience of similar conservation projects in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, though in different architectural styles.
The old building of the Bantony castle would be refurbished and converted into a museum. A recreational park with a restaurant would also be developed in the area. The project is estimated to cost Rs 25 crore.
It was in January, 2016, that the government took the decision to acquire Bantony Castle for Rs 27.84 crore, after several failed attempts over the last two decades. The Himachal Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) had prepared a social impact assessment report of the prime property before the decision on its acquisition was taken. The Building, spread over around 20,000 square metre area between Circular Road and Mall Road, is an example of beautiful anglo-gothic architecture and since the building was strategically located on the Mall Road. At present, the double-storey building constructed in mock-Tudor style, part chalet and crowned with sloping roofs with mini-towers is literally on the verge of collapse.