The clock tower in front of the Nethaji Market here, one of the many heritage structures in the fort city, is crying for attention.
The local people, Corporation authorities and the merchants say the clock has stopped working for many years and deserves maintenance.
History says the Vellore Municipality came into being in 1866 and the present Council was formed in 1920 under the Madras District Municipalities Act.
The main market was constructed in 1868 with 200 stalls and the public fountains were provided in 1912, water being sourced from nearby Otteri.
The clock tower was put up by the citizens in commemoration of the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in Delhi on 12 December 1911. The foundation stone for the eastern gateway was laid by then the British Collector Marjorbibanks and the Municipal Council chairman Khan Bahadur Habibullah Shahib. An inscription on the eastern side of the clock tower says, “From this Vellore village, 277 men went to fight in the First World War (1914 to 18), and 14 of them died in battle.”
On the right side of the main entrance, a drinking water supply system was installed on 24 July, 1927 in memory of Desabandu C R Das, the president of the 1922 Gaya Congress Conference.
The Vellore Town Nethaji Market Vegetable Merchants Association, formed in 1967 named the market as ‘Netaji Market’ in 1942. That year, Subhas Chandra Bose formed the Indian National Army (INA).
Founder-director of the Vellore Institute of Development Studies (VIDS) Dr P Jegadish Gandhi said, “Nethaji Market is the first super market in Vellore, perhaps for the whole region. The market has an oblong-shaped main entrance facing the east, with entry from all four sides. The Nethaji Market still holds its sway among the local customers, but it is a pity that the clock tower and the environs are not properly maintained,” he added.
General secretary of the Merchants Association Gnanavelu said the Corporation could entrust the maintenance of the tower and the other heritage structures in the city with the NGOs and corporate bodies.
The Merchants Association would be too happy to undertake the maintenance of the tower if the local body came forward with such a proposal, he added.