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123-Year-Old British-Era Road Roller Unearthed During Patna Collectorate Construction

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna: The construction of the new Collectorate building in Patna district, Bihar, unearthed a remarkable piece of history. During the excavation of the Collectorate campus in 2022, workers discovered a 123-year-old road roller from the British era buried underground. This road roller, now 125 years old, has been restored by the Road Construction Department and is preserved in the Central Mechanical Workshop.

The steam road roller was manufactured by John Fowler & Co. Leeds Limited, a British company. It was brought to India from London during British rule and was used to construct many roads in Patna. The steam-powered machine required a fireman, driver, and cleaner to operate, as it ran on coal and wood.

Upon discovering the road roller, the workers carefully extracted it and informed the district administration. Initially, it was decided that the vintage steam road roller would be handed over to the Patna Museum for preservation. However, when the museum showed no interest, the Road Construction Department took responsibility for its restoration.

The Department undertook the task of refurbishing the road roller, which was found in a dilapidated condition. After approximately five months of renovation work, the road roller was restored to its former glory and is now displayed under the main shed of the Central Mechanical Workshop.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Road Construction Minister Vijay Kumar Sinha emphasized the importance of preserving this piece of heritage. He stated that the restored road roller would be maintained for future generations to learn about its historical significance. Like the steam railway engine, this road roller will be showcased to highlight the technological journey and transformations over the years.

The author is Patna based journalist


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