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Facelift plan for Karim house

- Rs 30 lakh sanctioned to repair zamindar building

Islampur, Oct. 5: The State Heritage Commission will restore the Islampur zamindar building that now belongs to mass education and library services minister Chowdhury Abdul Karim and has sanctioned Rs 30 lakh for the repair.

Today, a team of experts from the heritage commission inspected the two-storied building and drew up an initial restoration plan.

Karim’s grandfather Chowdhury Abdul Aziz had built the structure in 1880. After he passed away in 1904, Karim’s father Chowdhury Yusuf Chowdhury took over the zamindari.

The Chowdhury estate extended from Thakurgaon, now in Bangladesh, Islampur, Chopra to parts of Kishenganj in Bihar. The building was the administrative hub of the zamindari and levies and taxes were deposited here.

According to Karim, his father had a large stable and he used to roam the estate on horseback. “Those are memories. What remains as a mute witness is the building and it is in bad shape,” Karim said. Karim’s father passed away in 1956.

“After the zamindari system was done away with, our family fell into bad times and we did not have money to maintain the building,” said Karim, the local Trinamul MLA.

In 2010, he appealed to the heritage commission to take over the building.

Karim’s younger brother Kaizer Chowdhury said once the work was over, a museum would be opened in the building where old zamindari records and books would be displayed. “We have some articles, tools and books that will throw some light on the history of Islampur. We have given a proposal (to set up the museum) to the heritage commission,” he said.

“The commission has sanctioned Rs 30 lakh for the repairs. More funds would be required. The restoration will be completed in stages. We will ensure that the original architecture is preserved in the best possible manner,” said Gopa Sen, an engineer who was part of the team that inspected the building today.

Officials said the commission had sanctioned another Rs 30 lakh for restoring Bahin zamindari building in Raiganj.