NATIONAL HERITAGE: Study to spot structures for heritage tag

NATIONAL HERITAGE: Study to spot structures for heritage tag – about time too ?!!

Entrance to Jalpaiguri Palace built 500 years ago - so what happened to the Palace, ransacked by Bengal's neglect ?!! (TT)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Aug. 24: The West Bengal Heritage Commission has decided to identify and document historic buildings and sites in five districts of north Bengal.

The commission today signed a memorandum of understanding with North Bengal University to carry out the study that will cover Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri districts.

A 16-member committee comprising representatives of the varsity, the commission and the five districts has been constituted for the project.

Anand Gopal Ghosh, the head of the history department at NBU and the co-ordinator of the project, said structures and sites which were more than 100 years old, would be considered as heritage properties. “Archaeologists and historians in the country choose monuments and sites that are more than 100 years old as heritage sites and we shall also follow the same criterion. A good example of a historic site is the King Sahib’s ghat in Jalpaiguri built in 1808. At that time, there was no road to connect the Dooars with Jalpaiguri and people had to cross the Teesta by boats and streamers from the ghat,” said Ghosh.

Commission chairman Barun De said the project would be the first of its kind to be taken up by them in north Bengal.

“We have made a lot of progress in the identification and the documentation of heritage sites in south Bengal, but this is the first venture by us in north. The NBU is a repository of knowledge in archaeology and that is why we have decided to team up with them,” he said. “The commission does not exactly define a criterion for heritage sites and the committee should work with a broad view.

De added that Malda had been excluded from the project as old monuments and sites in the district had already been documented by Pradyut Ghosh, a professor at Malda College.

Sukumar Samanta, the commission secretary, said temples, mosques, churches, zamindari baris (ancestral properties of the zamindars) and houses of famous personalities or freedom fighters could be considered as the historical sites. “Landscapes like old tea gardens, forests and riverine tracts can also be considered for heritage status,” he added.

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