Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Feb 6:
The famous Hukitola house and the rainwater harvesting plant that sits on a small island off Kendrapada coast in Odisha will be renovated by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Bhubaneswar under the Integrated Coastal Zone management (ICZM) scheme.
A team of INTACH, led by its director Mallika Mitra, Consultant Bijay Rath and engineers, has already visited the site and inspected the condition of the building, the water harvesting plant and the infrastructure to prepare a renovation plan.
“We noticed small plants that have come up on the building. We need to inspect its impact on the walls. We would also renovate the water harvesting plant. It would be of great help to encourage tourism to the place,” said consultant Rath.
The government would take a call after it receives the report from INTACH. However, given the mosquito menace and lack of provision for drinking water in the island, it would be a hard task to create a working environment fit for labourers to work there.
“We will first ensure health facilities for the workers in order to make them work inside the sea. But work will start soon,” Rath added.
The World Bank was requested to aid the renovation project. INTACH Delhi was supposed to do it under ICZM scheme. Later, the task was handed over to INTACH, Bhubaneswar.
Post renovation, Hukitola will be used as a tourist complex. The forest department will deploy speed and country boats for tourists at the spot. Local youths will be trained to operate tourist boats and maintain other facilities.
It may be noted that the Hukitola Bay and Hukitola Island located north of the Mahanadi river delta (confluence of Govari river and the Bay of Bengal) was formed from silt deposits. There is a building on the island, which was constructed by British colonialists circa 1867 to serve as a rice storehouse.
The building with wooden staircase has a total plinth area of more than 7,000 square feet and carries proof of excellent British architectural skill with rainwater harvesting system.