Repair of Delhi's Oldest Church Stopped Due to Lack of Funds

Published 13 October 2017  |  
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The revamping of Delhi's oldest church, built in 1836, has been halted due to lack of funds.

The 180-year-old colonial structure, St James Church, is a chief landmark in the Kashmere Gate area. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was directed to create a Detailed Project Report, after requests from the church committee.

The report was submitted last April, and the first phase of restoration had commenced in March, 2017.

However, the completion of restoration will not be seen anytime soon, as the support has been stopped. Despite the church writing to the Governor of Delhi and some overseas Christian bodies for funds, there has been no positive reply.

Waterproofing the church's terrace that was damaged by rainwater and other works require Rs 2.7 crore more.

According to DNA, the church's structure has been damaged due to alarming rise in population, strong resonance caused by trains passing nearby, and mainly due to two underground metro tunnels, which are only 15 and 35 meters away from the church.

"We realise that the church needs urgent attention. That is why he had collaborated with INTACH. The part A of Phase I, which involved stabilising the structure and taking care of the damages caused over the years, is complete. A four-feet construction below the surface, around the boundary wall, has been finished," said Kamal Baluja, chairman of the Church Conservation Committee.

"This part cost us Rs 50 lakh. After that, we had to stop the work. Part B of Phase I requires Rs 38 lakh and the complete restoration, including Phase II, requires Rs 2.7 crore," he added.

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