SBP modernising heritage building with tiles, aluminium

This means that one of the four important landmarks of the city on the Mall Road, including the Commissioner's and the Deputy Commissioner's office, the Central Library, and the Punjab State Electricity Board head office, will be changed forever.

The bank is also replacing the wooden fittings of the windows with aluminium ones. A part of the building has already been renovated and no longer looks like the heritage building it was.
When contacted, Assistant General Manager, (Premises and Estates) Jitender Singh said the building was only being strengthened under the renovation exercise. He said the bank was using off-white tiles, which would go with the original colour of the other heritage sites on the Mall Road. However, when his attention was drawn to the way the look of the building had been changed by replacing the original wooden batons which supported the windows with aluminium casings, he said the wood had to be changed because it had become infested with termites.

Moreover, the use of aluminum was a modern concept, he said.

The bank could be trying to go modern, in line with the 21st century glass and steel buildings, people of the city feel an important landmark was being changed without a permission from the authorities concerned. PCS officer Rupinder Singh Randhawa, who was earlier the Director, Cultural Affairs, and is a resident of the city, said the bank authorities were changing the originality of the building. He said the bank's head office was located in a vintage building which was linked with the heritage of Patiala and was part of the new face of town, created by Maharaja Rajinder Singh when he shifted from Quila Mubarak to the Rajindra kothi in the Baradari gardens.
Other citizens of the city also objected against the manner in which the bank was using modern construction elements, including tiles and aluminium casings, on the heritage building. Mr Harnaresh Singh said it was surprising that a rich bank like the SBP was destroying a heritage building when it could have easily restored the building to its old glory. He lamented that all this was happening when Patiala was just two months away from organising a Heritage Festival, showcasing its buildings and unique culture.

Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh, when contacted on the issue, said he would ask the bank management to desist from changing the exterior of the building. He said he would also find whether the bank could change the external facade of the building in view of a likely cabinet notification disallowing owners from changing the facade of buildings which had come up before Independence.

He said the Patiala Development Authority was going in for a face lift of the old heritage buildings in the city, with the Mohindra College in for a new coal of paint ahead of the Heritage Festival.

Leave a Reply