Mangalore’s Old Customs House Inaugurated after Restoration
Mangaluru: The 133-year-old Custom House of Mangalore, located at Old Port Bunder was inaugurated after restoration by the Shri A. K. Jyotishi, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Bengaluru Zone, in the presence of Shri S. N. Rai, Chief Engineer, CPWD, Bengaluru, Dr. M. Subramanyam, Commissioner of Customs, GST Audit, Bengaluru and Shri Parag C. Borkar, Commissioner of Customs, Mangaluru.
The formal program commenced with an audiovisual documentary prepared by the officers of customs, on the history of Mangalore and the importance of Customs in the trade and development of the region from ancient times. Speaking on the occasion Shri Borkar, Commissioner recalled that most of the earlier Custom Houses in India were located at the banks of the river so that the goods could be loaded and customs formalities completed. Appreciating the documentary, he said that he was able to visualize the ships coming up to the old port in the days gone by, goods being unloaded and the Customs Officer completing the assessments.
Dr. M. Subramanyam, the former Commissioner of Customs under whose leadership the project of renovating the semi-dilapidated building had begun, said that he was inspired by the spirit of Mangaloreans, wherever they are on the globe, are so connected to their roots and ensure that they come to their ancestral homes. So firstly the credit for renovation of the old Customs House goes to the spirit of Mangalore and secondly said it was undertaken as an honor to the great souls of the predecessors who worked in the Old Port and have also laid down their lives for the department. He thanked the different departments viz; District Administration, the Port Authorities, Mangalore City Corporation and the CPWD for assisting in the completion of this project. He also appreciated the tireless efforts put in by the officers.
S. N. Rai, Chief Engineer said that when we do something, we need to answer three questions, what are we doing, how we are doing it and why it should be done. The answers to all these questions were available at the time of planning this project. Hence, with the personal involvement of the client that is the customs officers, in this case, the CPWD could execute the project with ease. Looking at the documentary, he said, he was able to see the different stages of progress in the work.
Presiding over the function A. K. Jyotishi, Chief Commissioner said that it is far easier to construct a new building than to restore an ancient 133-year-old structure. He suggested formulating a plan to use the renovated custom House as a museum, to preserve old articles linked not just to the department but also to the region, so that, it could be one of the tourist spots for the tourists coming from India and abroad.
Imamuddin Ahmad, Additional Commissioner of Customs welcomed the gathering and Sreenath H. V, Superintendent delivered the vote of thanks. Rajesh Poojari, Asst. Commissioner compered the program. The guests were then led to a guided tour of the building and the campus.