Kollam: The demands to establish a heritage museum in Kollam and the project proposals for it remains unaddressed for years. However, the latest budget allocation of Rs 10 crore to set up a heritage museum in Thangassery has raised hopes for securing due respect to the historical reminiscences in the Kollam district.
Though a similar fund was set aside in the state’s budget for the financial year 2020-21, no action followed.
The project aims to establish a museum which throws light on the centuries-old history of trade and commerce of Kollam, and an oceanarium to provide insights regarding life in the ocean.
A private agency was entrusted to form a detailed study report for the heritage projects in Kollam during the budget presentation of 2020-21. The state government had proposed to convert the old post office building to a museum by retaining its original structure. Separate funds were also allotted for the renovation of Thangassery gate and Portuguese cemetery.
Portuguese cemetery and Thangassery fort
The Portuguese cemetery still lies abandoned behind the Buckingham canal, which perished due to encroachments. The Archaeological Survey of India has taken up the maintenance of the Thangassery fort. The Department of Revenue had decided to hand over the land only if the ASI submitted the project plan and application for it. However, no action proceeded. The Kollam Corporation’s plan to launch a heritage village in Thangassery also remains a dream.
Deserted China Palace
The heritage projects in Kollam are being neglected citing lack of sites and other facilities to set up museums. When the locals demanded to preserve the China Palace, also known as Cheena Kottaram, situated on the premises of railway station, the state archaeological department discarded it by claiming that the palace is not a notified protected monument under the department.
Efforts were also made to convert two centuries-old Thevally Palace to a heritage museum. But, the NCC office operating in the palace informed the revenue department to leave only if the former gets another building to shift. Later, the department decided to take up the Sree Moolam Thirunal Palace and set up a museum there. But this project also got stalled.
Kasaba jail and Residency Bungalow
The projects to establish a heritage museum at Kasaba jail and Residency Bungalow in Ashramam also remain unaccomplished. The government had spent lakhs to protect the Kasaba jail as a heritage monument. But a government office still functions here.