Chandernagore, Nov 16 (UNI) Consul General of France in Kolkata Virginie Corteval will be touring the heritage township for the first time since her deputation in the city.
She will be taking forward the work that her predecessors started eight years ago.
Celebrating Indo-French partnership, she will join the efforts to shape the next decade of people-to-people contact between France & Bengal.
Taking great pride in announcing on this happy occasion, she said, ” We are formalising our relationship and institutionalising our partnership, working as collaborators between the Government, Private Sector and Civil Society. This would not have been possible without the vision and support of the Chief Minister of Bengal Mamata Banerjee and her commitment to development of river tourism along the Hooghly. ”
The Consulate General of France in Kolkata is joined by the French Embassy in New Delhi and the Institut Français en Inde and its long standing heritage partner Aishwarya Tipnis Architects in this journey over the last eleven months post-Bonjour India, which were spent in concretising and beginning dialogue between the two Governments on this development of Chandernagore as a world class tourism destination.
She said, ” We are proud that an artistic endeavour, started as an academic exercise under Bonjour India for the restoration and reuse of the Registry office Building has evolved into a proposal to revitalise and redevelop the entire Strand Precinct. We are very grateful to the Government of West Bengal, Ms Banerjee, Minister of Tourism Goutam Deb, Minister of State for information & Culture & Tourism Indranil Sen, Principal Secretary, Home & Hill Affairs, Atri Bhattacharya and J P Meena, District Magistrate & Collector of Hooghly, for their endeavour to widen this initiative to not just restoring buildings but creating livelihood opportunities and economic development for the people of this town. ”
” I am proud to represent this slice of Indo-French history which is a beautiful confluence of both our cultures making it absolutely unique. Over the years we have been able to bring attention to this town and hopefully this will be the beginning of a new partnership where the people of Chandernagore particularly the women and children are at the centre of this positive change, ” she added.
The French Consulate takes this opportunity to thank Father Orson Welles of Sacred Heart Church, Prof. Debashish Sarkar, Principal Chandernagore College, French Prof. Basabi Pal and Ms. Neline Mondal, and their friends who came forward and participated in the initiatives particularly the women of Chandernagore, who participated in the cooking competition for Bonjour India.
It is indeed a very aspirational moment for Mrs Corteval to lead this “all women” team here in Chandernagore as she believes ”when women come together for a cause it is nothing short of changing the world and the team are excited to be working here with the people of Chandernagore.”
” It would be impossible to attempt such a bold initiative sustained over such a long period of time without the vision of the Chief Minister who has been instrumental in developing the River Front tourism as just an idea to what it is now, a viable reality. Here in this moment of time to bring together French and Indian expertise towards a common goal, the persistence of Aishwarya Tipnis who is incidentally a highly trained, double UNESCO Awardee, globally accomplished, conservation architect… but has proven herself as a larger over-arching “cultural diplomat” harnessing all means to build this bridge between India and France. She has been instrumental in engineering this partnership that France and West Bengal are about to embark on, ” she mentioned.
” Women and Children would be the central focus of our work with dissemination and engagement with the Indo-French heritage of Chandernagore through our initiatives for the rest of the year. We are committed to engaging with the school children and would welcome the students of Chandernagore to participate in the calendar of events that we would be proposing on them of the Indo-French heritage of Chandernagore, ” she commented.
Our larger collective vision is to showcase Chandernagore as a model for sustainable development with people’s participation that not just Bengal but the rest of the country and the world can learn from, ” Mrs Corteval said and thanked every person, the local population, the media that has stood its ground on the subject of restoration and civil society as a whole, in Chandernagore and Bengal, which is working so fluidly and adapting to the idea of regeneration and growth in such a wonderful sustainable manner.
The Insides Speak.