SAMBALPUR: More than a century old Veer Surendra Sai Town Hall, popularly known as Victoria Hall, located in front of the office of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation, has been lying neglected.
Water leaks from its roof during monsoon and cement plaster has peeled off from its outer wall while some portions of the building have been totally damaged. A few years back, books and magazines stored in a room were washed away as rain water entered the Victoria Hall. The building, which is managed by District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), looks like a deserted building due to wild growth on its campus.
Its condition is expected to deteriorate further after the District Culture Office, which presently operates from the building, is shifted to its new building constructed on the premises of district collectorate. The building, which was inaugurated in 1904 by the then Chief Commissioner of Central Province JP Hewety, was renovated about a decade back. It was designed by the then Superintending Engineer of Central Province JB Leven Thorpey and named Victoria Hall. Constructed with the funds provided by the British Government, kings, landlords and businessmen of the region, the building was renamed after Independence in the memory of martyr Veer Surendra Sai as Veer Surendra Sai Town Hall.
Cultural and historical enthusiast Deepak Panda said several important meetings were organised in the building as Sambalpur was a centre of administrative activities during British rule. Even the then Governor of Bengal, Sir Andrew Frazer, had convened a meeting of the kings of the region in the building in 1908.
The Zilla High School, Women’s College and Trust Fund College, known at present as Netaji Subash Chandra Bose College, and office of Sambalpur Development Authority operated from this building before being shifted to their present campuses.
When contacted, Project Director of DRDA Sitaram Patel said required measures would be taken for protection of the historic building.