The Heritage Society of Balurghat today observed a “black day” in protest against the demolition of an old building of City Bank constructed in 1913.
A real estate promoter has allegedly purchased the plot of land where the building stands from the board of directors of the Bank. According to sources, the building was built during the British period in the Moktarpara area in Balurghat town. Intellectuals and the general people in Balurghat town have protested against the demolition of the building that was leased out to various business organizations for a long period of time.
Balurghat was the district headquarters of Dinajpur during British rule. The Balurghat Co-operative Bank Bhaban, the District Magistrate’s Office and the City Bank Bhaban were all constructed during that period.
“Since the past few months, a group of promoters have been planning to demolish City Bank and build residential apartments there. Local people and intellectuals protested when the building was demolished on Thursday morning.
However, the promoters claimed they owned the bank. According to one protester at the South Dinajpur Heritage Society programme, there were questions as to who actually owned the building built-in 1913. “There was a trustees’ board. The promoters somehow managed to change the ownership and demolished the building even after protests,” he said.
As they protested in the afternoon today, the members of the Heritage Society stood in front of the now completely demolished building and observed a minute of silence and collected signatures from passers-by. One school teacher Somit Ghosh rued the alleged silence of the district administration.
“It is the duty of the administration to protest such historic monuments and buildings for the future generation,” he said. According to Tuhinsubhra Mandal, the district president of the Heritage Society, the promoters are taking advantage of the ownership controversy of old buildings.
“All buildings which have historical importance should be protected and the district administration should take immediate action to find out the original owners and protect the area. Otherwise, the promoters will demolish all such historic buildings in the future,” he said.
When contacted, the district magistrate of South Dinajpur, Ayesha Rani, said she was yet to receive any complaint regarding the matter.