Hrishikesh Das Road’s House no 43, a near century-old antique structure in Old Dhaka built during the British rule, is about to become history.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) on February 28 green-lighted the property owner’s request to demolish the structure reportedly built in late 1920s.
The demolition of the old-fashioned two-storied house to make room for a multi-storied apartment building began last week, amid protests from Old Dhaka residents as well as members of archaeological and architectural societies.
Urban Study Group (USG), a non-profit volunteer organization which aims to protect the historical urban fabric of Old Dhaka, on Friday formed a human chain at Dhaka’s Bahadur Shah Park and staged demonstrations in front of the antique building to stop its demolition.
USG Chief Executive (Architecture) Taimur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune: “The human chain program has been called as a protest against the ongoing destruction of heritage sites in Old Dhaka, triggered by the RAJUK’s recently published and faulty heritage list.”
Sources said that 93 heritage buildings on 13 roads, including Hrishikesh Das Road, Shakhari Bazar Road, Tati Bazar Road, Farashganj Road and B K Das Road, under four areas— Farashganj, Shakari Bazar, Sutrapur and Ramna— were declared as heritage sites for their historic, aesthetic, scientific and social importance through a gazette published by RAJUK on February 12, 2009.
However, RAJUK amended the heritage list on November 29 last year, removing 18 previously declared heritage buildings and the aforementioned areas from the list.
Locals and activists claimed many heritage sites in Old Dhaka have been facing disaster due to the incompleteness of the heritage list, adding that the withdrawal of protection for the four aforementioned areas had paved the way for the demolition of house no 43.
“If this continues, nothing will remain of this building after a week,” Taimur said.