Fund crunch delays Church restoration works

Cost escalation and delay in govt fund release, affects the project

Fund crunch delays Church restoration works

The much awaited restoration works of St Philomena’s Church commenced two months ago. It might however come to standstill in a few months, owing to severe fund crunch faced by the church.

The 81-year-old Church is not only significant to one community, but is close to the hearts of Mysoreans. It is also a must visit place among tourists. Following several requests from the church from the past four years, the State government directed the Minority Welfare department to allocate Rs two crore for restoration of the structure.

This aside, the Tourism department has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh. The Church, which had estimated around Rs six crore for the works, had planned to collect the remaining amount from donors. It is however facing difficulty in arranging for the same.

History repeats

Fr K A William, Parish Priest of the Church said that owing to cost escalation, the expenditure would now come up to Rs eight crore. The Church however has only Rs three crore in its kitty.

Major civil works at the Church includes the replacement of the church roof with new cement sheets. However, when the works commenced, it was learnt that there was a lot more repair work that needs to be taken up, before replacing the sheets.

“We found that the walls of the arch are not plastered, and heaps of dust has collected in the arch pits, due to which there is water leakage in the entire structure. The Church walls were plastered with lime mortar, and few of the walls have not been plastered. This was because, the Church faced fund crunch even when it was being constructed,” Fr William said.

The roof replacement works should have been completed in 90 days, but it would take another two months for completion, he said. “We will first get the roof top plastered, following which, paint work and replacement of sheets will be taken up,” the priest added.

So far, the arch pits have been cleaned, over which plastering work has been taken up.
Fr William said that though Revenue Minister V Sreenivas Prasad had promised to release the entire grant amount during the time of the inauguration of restoration works itself. But, the amount is yet to reach the Church.

“Now, we are completely open to the skies. All we want to do is damage control, so that the historical monument can last long,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Archaeology is undertaking wall restoration works at the Church. It is replacing the brittle walls. The works also include replacing about 50-year old electrical wiring system.

In all, works at the Church has been taken up in four phases. While the walls will be replaced by the Archeology department, the remaining works, including electrical, restoration of Sacristy, and civil works, will be taken up by the Church.

Stained glasses

When the Church was built, it managed to install only five stained glasses, which can be seen behind the Altar. During the inauguration of works, Prasad had also promised to install stained glasses through the entire chuch.

“But, the cost of installing the stained glass comes to about Rs 3 crore. For the time being it will not be possible to take up this work. If the stained glass is installed, then  the beauty of the structure will double,” the priest added.

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