Shimla: The Himachal Government today announced a decision to acquire the entire Bantony Castle estate, a heritage property near The Mall here for a payment of Rs. 27.84 crore from private owners.
Speaking to reporters after presiding over the cabinet meeting where the decision was taken, chief minister Virbhadra Singh said, “the old Bantony castle building would be refurbished and a museum would set up there.”
“In addition, a recreational park with a restaurant would also be developed in the area. It would be a point of attraction for both tourists and locals,” he said.
The delapidated structures near Hotel Grand on way to Kali Bari from Scandal Point, some year ago housed the Police Department, an employment exchange but has remain unoccupied for long.
Built in 1880, Bantony Castle was he summer palace of Kings of Sirmour princely state and was let out to the British Empire for their Military Works office by Sir Amar Prakash Bahadur.
He had got the buildings constructed as a unique structures on a 20,000 sq meter of land. The cast iron railings along the road showcase the Coat-of-Arms of the Maharaja.
Acquisition of the buildings had been earlier opposed by the owners as the government first only intended to acquire only the buildings and not the entire estate.
Having moved on after spearheading corporate communications of a large public sector undertaking, its time to give vent to the creative urges that lay suppressed for long
I am glad to know that the Himachal Pradesh Government has taken up the responsibility of conservation of an important heritage and I am , without doubt that this step will enhance the attraction that the picturesque hill state holds for tourists.The castle will add to the splendour of tourism as it will be history framed in the canvas of natural beauty.