Century-old building being demolished

Much to the dismay of preservationists, the century-old laboratory building in Dhaka’s Khamarbari area is being demolished by the Public Works Department (PWD) as it is deemed to be a risky building. Strangely enough, despite it having historical value as it once housed the Cotton Development Board during the British-era, the building is not on the heritage list, a loophole that is being exploited for its demolition.

Proponents for preserving the building argue that that the building belongs to that era when the landscape of Dhaka began to take on an urban characteristic. Architects and activists argue that there are very few such old buildings standing and those that are left represent the history of yesteryears and should definitely be declared a heritage site. We would like to know why concerned authorities are not taking steps to preserve this historical building as is the practice in many cities of the world, instead of knocking it down. This is a publicly owned building that should be preserved not just for its history but also aesthetic value.

We understand that a move had been at the High Court to stop demolition work on October 26 and that the HC has instructed the attorney general’s office to suspend demolition work till October 31. Apparently the PWD is free to continue with its work should it decide to do so after the deadline passes. Whatever may the decision be, we are sure the envisaged seven-storey building can be built someplace else leaving the old structure where it stands. While the ancient building may not hold much value to authorities concerned, it does hold value to those who believe in preserving Dhaka’s history.

Source: The Daily Star

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