Heritage and tourism in Chandannagar got a boost with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently between France and the Bengal government on the sidelines of the Bengal Global Business Summit. French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, who was in Chandannagar to unveil plaques on three buildings enlisted by the West Bengal Heritage Commission, tweeted the event after signing the MoU late on Wednesday. “The agreement will initiate a very important revitalisation of Chandannagar’s Indo-French heritage,” he wrote. Tourism and home secretary Atri Bhattacharya said, “We have signed an MoU to together explore ways to redevelop Chandannagar heritage. There are some buildings that are either government property right now or can possibly be acquired. The French will do research and provide expertise in restoration and we will see in what phases we can fund restoration of heritage precincts.”
Ziegler said, “With the MoU, we have now created a bilateral arrangement whereby we will provide technical expertise. Specialists in restoring monuments will come before summer for the first visit.”
The MoU mentions only the Registry Office, the former French courthouse, by name. It was one of the buildings where a heritage plaque was unveiled on Wednesday. An estimate of the restoration cost will be drawn up with the help of French experts. The ambassador, on his fourth visit to Chandannagar , described the former French colony as “a jewel”. “You have history, charm, proximity to Calcutta… the potential for tourism is immense. Demonstrating what can be done in one building can have a snowball effect. Through honouring the past we are setting up a dynamic for the town’s economic development,” Ziegler said.
Source: The Telegraph