Renovation work on legendary British author George Orwell’s house in a Bihar town where he was born has begun, officials said Thursday.

“Finally, renovation of Orwell’s birthplace has started,” said East Champaran District Magistrate Abhay Kumar Singh, who launched the work.

The single-storey brick house is in the lake town of Motihari, district headquarters of East Champaran.

Orwell, the author of classics such as Animal Farm and 1984, has a unique India link. Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in Motihari near India’s border with Nepal. His father, Richard Blair, worked as an agent of the opium department of the Indian Civil Service during British rule.

Deo Priya Mukherjee, associated with the George Orwell Commemorative Committee, said a State government agency has been entrusted with the task of renovating the house at a cost of Rs. 45 lakh.

Three years ago, then Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered a restoration and development plan prepared for the neglected building. He was keen to preserve Orwell’s birthplace to attract tourists.

The State government had declared the building a protected site four years ago.