This week's Featured Web page is about the old Calcutta Mint building.
Kolkata’s Old Silver Mint, a landmark that has seen the city change dramatically over the past 184 years, is a crumbling symbol of the city’s rich heritage. The peeling plaster of the walls and wild growth of plants fail to veil the grandeur of the Doric columns of the mint. Because of want of proper maintenance, the mint has, for over decades, stood silently as a haunted house in the busy commercial area in Burrabazar.
The mint was of great importance since it was the only one that was producing silver coins, which were in circulation at that time. As many as 3,00,000 to 6,00,000 silver coins were manufactured here daily. Gold, copper and bronze coins were also made here, and the facility for manufacturing medals was also available.
The old yellowish Grecian structure that was once the old mint complex of Kolkata, was built on an area of 12.5 acres. Its foundation stone was laid in March, 1824, and it became operational from August 1, 1829. Silver coins were minted here till 1952.
Although a decision was taken to develop the mint, which is a heritage site, into a museum along with the development of the area for tourism under a public-private partnership (PPP) with a set deadline of September, 2011, much progress is yet to be seen.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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