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Prisoners to restore heritage structures

Antara Das


A grant of around $64,000 awarded over a two-year period will be handed over to INTACH


— Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

Life begins anew: The Lalgola open air correctional home for prisoners in Murshidabad district, West Bengal.

Kolkata: Inmates of the Lalgola open-air correctional home in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district will soon have a new job on their hands. From October, they will participate in the conservation of heritage structures within their campus.

The project, which has been awarded the International Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Grant from the United States Embassy, is to be implemented by the West Bengal chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

A grant of around $64,000 awarded over a two-year period will be handed over to INTACH, which will provide technical supervision and training to the convicts.

“The unique feature of the project is that it combines conservation efforts with vocational training for the inmates of the home,” said B. D. Sharma, Inspector General of Correctional Services. “The skills that they pick up can prove useful once they complete their sentence,” he pointed out.

While those conversant in masonry work will be involved, skilled inmates from other prisons might be transferred to Lalgola, if necessary.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is happy with the project and has expressed his desire to visit Lalgola.

The heritage structures, which include around 300-year-old temples, as well as the building where Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay is said to have started work on the draft of his novel Anandamath, are likely to act as added attractions to tourists visiting the historical sites of Murshidabad district.

The correctional home is situated on the grounds belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Lalgola, which has since been handed over to the State government.

The project was selected to represent India at the global competition in Washington D.C.

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