BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA / DURGAPUR ,9 SEPTEMBER 2022
There are a number of Bong connections in the past (ranging from about 61 years back visiting Durgapur to the latest this year of silk exported from Murshidabad used in royale ceremony in Londin ) of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch of the United Kingdom, who has passed away at the age of 96, after reigning for over 70 years.
On 16 February 1961, Queen Elizabeth II stayed in the steel city of Durgapur in West Bengal and visited the steel factory of Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) and in the evening attended a cultural programme held at Durgapur Club.
Resuming her Indian tour after a brief stay in Pakistan, Queen Elizabeth II visited the GBP105 million steel plant at Durgapur in West Bengal, the biggest single construction job ever undertaken by Britain overseas at that time.
At Durgapur, Queen Elizabeth II and her entourage was received by Sardar Swaran Singh, union minister of steel, mines and fuel of the government of India.
The Queen also visited and inspected the blast furnace and other departments inside the Durgapur Steel Plant factory, which has been partly financed by British loans, built by a consortium of 13 British Firms, and manned with British trained Indian staff.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru , has described the Durgapur Steel Plant as the temples of modern India and was set to be totally completed by the end of that year. The first ingot was casted in the previous year in April.
Mr. P.C.Niyogi, the then General Manager of DSP accompanied the Queen inside the plant. DSP was founded in 1959.
Queen Elizabeth stayed in suite number one on the first floor of Durgapur House. It is the biggest and best suit of Durgapur House, a guest house of Durgapur Steel Plant located in the heart of the city.
Till today the suit number one , which has been renamed as Rani Kuti is reserved only for VVIP persons and remains locked for most part of the year.
Though most of the officials who has been present on that day and worked at that time has retired or has passed away including the chief caretaker and other caretakers of Durgapur House but the son of one the caretaker who worked on that day, Surojit Mukherjee, is still working at the Durgapur House.
The Queen arrived in a hood open car as the workers watched her and cheered and clapped her and was received by Sardar Swaran Singh. Queen Elizabeth walked towards the workers and spoke to some of them and left in the car through the line of the workers to tour the plant.
Liquid hot metal was pouring in the containers, men working and she moved towards the blast furnaces, according to DSP sources.
“@DSPSAIL1 family mourns the sad demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In February 1961, she visited SAIL Durgapur Steel Plant, which has been set up with British collaboration #QueenElizabeth II,” officially tweets DSP today. In its official Facebook Page it has also uploaded the photographs of her visit to Durgapur.
Earlier this year, hand made famous Murshidabd silk woven by 50 year old weaver, Ajay Saha of Chak Islmapur village in Murshidabd have been used in a cultural programme, to celebrate the first British monarch to serve the people of UK, the realms of the Commonwealth for over 70 years.
“ I was delighted and it was really a matter of pride for me and Murshidabd silk when I was given the order to supply silk for the Royale Function at London in June this year. I have sent three consignments to Kinetika in London of Rs.8 lakhs . I feel very sad after hearing the news that she is no more,”says Ajay Saha.
Designer Ali Pretty and her team Kinetica have designed the 200 silk flags made by Ajay Saha which have been used in River of Hope , which has processed down The Mall, appearing like a moving river. It was an important part of the Platinum Pageant. Secondary school students carried the flags with the message of climate change.
@DSPSAIL1 family mourns the sad demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In February 1961, she visited SAIL Durgapur Steel Plant, which has been set up with British collaboration #QueenElizabethII @SteelMinIndia@JM_Scindia@Officejmscindia@fskulaste@SAILsteel pic.twitter.com/eUyUygwCfp
— SAIL, Durgapur Steel Plant (@DSPSAIL1) September 9, 2022