The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rotary tribute to hill town turret timer

Darjeeling, June 4: The turret clock will be ticking by Independence Day, the Rotary Club here has promised.

Following the reports that appeared in The Telegraph (on May 31 and June 1) about the hill town's fading legacy symbolised by the defunct clock in Capitol Hall, concerned residents have decided to take up the project of repairing the timer. They have also received the clearance from the civic authorities.

'After reading the articles, we decided to shoulder the responsibility of restoring the clock. The timer definitely is the face of our town and we will go all out to ensure that the renovated clock starts functioning on Independence Day,' said Tashi Pencho of Rotary Club, Darjeeling. The club has entrusted Pencho with the task of coordinating the project.

Pencho and Shantanu Biswas ' the man who had repaired the clock in 1985 ' today inspected the set up at the tower and found that the old clock has to be replaced as most of the instruments seem to have 'vanished'. The clock has not functioned in the past decade.

Biswas said an electro-mechanical model has to be devised to run the clock once again.

In fact, Rotary Club has already contacted a couple of clock repair houses in Chennai to install a new model. 'We will however keep the fa'ade and the dial the same,' said Pencho.

Though the club will pool in most of the estimated Rs 1 lakh needed to install the clock it will also appeal to residents to take part in the event.

In fact, help seem to be coming from all directions. Shaheesh Prasad, an architect, who had earlier helped restore Capitol Hall after it was gutted by a fire in 1996, has also decided to mobilise funds to restore the fa'ade.

Rotary Club has also clarified that it has 'no terms and conditions' to revive the clock. 'We will in fact take up a project to maintain the clock once it is restored,' said Pencho.

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