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Kolkata: Cracks have developed in Kolkata’s iconic Shaheed Minar aka the Monument.

This comes in less than six years of a thorough repair of the 190-year-old cylindrical edifice standing tall on the Maidan in central Kolkata.

According to sources in the state public works department (PWD), cracks have developed in the main pillar and the exterior walls of the 157 feet high Monument that has been a witness to Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 to the Naxalbari Uprising of 1967 ~ all that has happened in Bengal.

“The crack in the pillar insider is a vertical one nearly two-feet long. The cracks on the external walls are mostly towards the base,” an official said.

Incidentally, the cracks came to notice when a 12-member PWD officials’ team visited the Monument last week for an inspection as the state government is planning to reopen it to visitors. Entry of visitors into the Monument is suspended since 1997 after a man jumped from the top and died.

With the cracks coming to notice, the PWD is now chalking out a detailed plan for the restoration of the Monument in consultation with archaeologists. The last time it was repaired was in 2012 at a cost of around Rs 50-lakh.

It may be recalled that the Monument was constructed in 1828 in the memory of British East India Company commander major general David Ochterlony to commemorate his defence of Delhi against the Marathas in 1804 and the victory of the East India Company over the Gorkhas in the Anglo-Nepalese War. It was originally known as the Ochterlony Monument.

In 1969 the then United Front government rechristened it as Shaheed Minar and rededicated it to the memory of the martyrs of Indian freedom movement.

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