Declare areas in Kolkata as ‘heritage complexes’, identify green areas: Bengal citizens to CM

The letter addressed to the Chief Minister was signed by author and founder of Calcutta Architectural Legacies (CAL) Amit Chowdhary and other artists and academics.. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Kolkata’s eminent academics, writers and civil society activists have written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to declare certain areas of the city, which are both architecturally unique and climate-resilient, ‘heritage complexes’, and Also identify green cover and biodiversity areas. ,

“The decision about this needs to come from you; Otherwise there will be very little change, and no change at this point really means disaster. We have reason to believe that you will act,” says a letter dated May 1 addressed to the chief minister.

Along with author and founder of Calcutta Architectural Legacies (CAL) Amit Chowdhary, the letter was signed by author Amitav Ghosh, filmmaker Aparna Sen, honorary professor at the Center for Studies in Social Sciences Tapati Guha-Thakurta, founder of Public Bonani Kakkar and . Pradeep Kakkar, Director, INTACH, West Bengal Chapter GM Kapoor, among other artistes and educationists.

In the letter, eminent citizens urged the Chief Minister to declare Benoy Badal Dinesh Bagh (Dalhousie Chauraha) and College Chauraha as ‘Heritage Complex’ and Hindustan Park/Lake Temple Road/Dover Lane as ‘Art Deco Heritage Zone’ and take necessary steps for the same. Have done maintain their historical character.

“This will not only boost the economy of the city; It will also activate its cultural life. We would be happy to actively participate in this process,” the letter said.

insufficient measure

The letter pointed out that the chief minister had informed Bengal about the special threats posed by global warming and the steps taken to preserve and nurture the protective wall of the Sunderbans mangroves.

“Nevertheless, the fact that new studies have further established that Bengal is at grave risk, that heat has increased to unacceptable levels, and that Kolkata’s overheating is leading to catastrophe, means that short-term measures (such as periodic closure of schools), while they are necessary, will not be sufficient,” the letter said.

On the issue of biodiversity areas, citizens have urged that not only parks, but also groves of trees, green spaces and gardens around houses be declared as green zones.

Nearly eight years ago in 2015, author Amit Chowdhary made a similar appeal, calling for immediate reform of heritage laws that would save the city’s historic neighborhoods from demolition.

Noting that historic neighborhoods, the city’s greatest asset, were disappearing irreversibly, the letter pointed out that although there was greater awareness of what was at stake in this matter, it was not government policy or municipal action. It was not reflected in the work.