Guwahati, Thursday, May 17, 2012
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Plan to preserve Berry White Medical School building
 GUWAHATI, May 16 – The State Directorate of Archaeology has embarked upon an ambitious plan to preserve the 111-year-old building of the Berry White Medical School, on the Dibrugarh Jail Road. Work to conserve the building will start within the current financial year.

The Directorate had earlier submitted a project proposal for the purpose to the Chief Minister of the State in 2010-2011 fiscal. The State Government has now sanctioned an amount of Rs 50 lakh to the Directorate for the purpose.

Sources in the Archaeology Directorate told this newspaper that the State Government had in the intermediary period asked the State Public Works Department to take up the matter. But now, the Archaeology Directorate has been entrusted with the job considering the heritage value of the building. A high-level meeting is being held tomorrow at Dibrugarh to initiate the preservation drive, sources said.

The Assam Type Building of the Berry White Medical School, measuring 373.65 square metres in size, was part of the history of specialised higher education in this part of the country. The School was set up by Dr John Berry White during the colonial rule in 1901. It was upgraded to a medical college on November 3, 1947 under the name and style of Assam Medical College by the Government in a significant move in the post-Independence era.

The building of the Medical School was later converted into the hostel for the students of the Assam Medical College.

It has in total 12 rooms and all of them are now in a dilapidated condition. Most of the wooden posts of the building are in bad shape. However, its iron posts are intact. The building is now in a waterlogged low-lying area. The stagnant water of the area is posing a serious threat to this heritage building. Considering its historical value, the building needs to be preserved with much care, sources said.

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