Two more clocks in repair cry- Darjeeling kindles Kalimpong’s hope for timer revival

Kalimpong, June 9: When it was alive and ticking, the chime of the 99-year-old clock atop Georgina McDermot Memorial Tower at Dr Graham’s Homes here used to be heard in distant Darjeeling.

If the timer and its neighbour — atop the Raja Dorjay tower at Kumudini Homes, about 5 km away — could only speak, they might have hoped that their muted cries for revival would be heard, if not in Darjeeling, at least nearer home.

Both the historic clocks have been silent for over 30 years now. While the one at Homes was damaged in the 1968 earthquake, the exact year in which the clock at Kumudini stopped chiming cannot be ascertained.

If some of the former-students and staff of the school are to be believed, the clock went kaput some time in the early eighties.

However, it was only recently that some sort of effort was initiated to repair the two clocks, but in the absence of adequate funds, the project never really took off. “I had visited Sitcom (Sikkim government-owned watch manufacturing company) which gave me the address of a company in Calcutta. The firm quoted a price of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh to get the clock repaired,” said David Foning, the bursar of Homes.

The Homes clock and the tower were set up in 1907 by Alexander McDermot, a friend of the Homes, in memory of his wife Georgina who had died a year earlier. The 1968 quake not only damaged the clock, but also the tower, which necessitated the lowering of its height.

In the absence of proper official record, neither the origin nor the year in which the clock tower at Kumudini was set up could be established. The clock itself was manufactured by the Chennai-based Ghani and Sons Company.

If some prominent alumni of the institution are to be believed, they did make an offer to repair the clock, but gave up due to lack of interest on the part of the school authorities.

“About two-three years ago, when I was the president of the school alumni association, I had offered to help repair the clock. However, things did not mature,” said D.K. Pradhan, the president of the GNLF (C).

What both the Homes are hoping now is that some concerned citizens, especially former students who have made it good in life, would come forward and fund the repair job.

Like in the case of the clock at Capitol Hall in Darjeeling, which the local Rotarians have agreed to repair following reports in The Telegraph (on May 31 and June 1) about the hill town’s fading legacy symbolised by the defunct clock, Kalimpong, too, is hoping for the best.

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