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GMDA retracts from demolition bid

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, June 16 � In the face of public opposition, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) today retracted from its stand on the demolition of the historic Assam Type Nabin Chandra Bordoloi (NCB) Hall and Library building for the purpose of replacing it with a two-storey RCC building.

GMDA chairman Dhiren Barua told this correspondent here today that the proposal to demolish the 105-year-old Assam Type building of the NCB Hall and Library to make room for a two-storey RCC building was �at a very nascent stage.�

�The proposal was at a discussion level and the public reaction to the proposal has showed us a new direction. We honour the public sentiment and now we have gone for a final decision discarding the earlier idea of dismantling the historic building,�

Barua said.

The GMDA chairman had earlier informed this correspondent, on June 10, of the Metropolitan Authority�s decision to dismantle the existing building of the Nabin Bordoloi Hall and Library.

He also apprised that an amount of Rs 2 crore was allocated by the GMDA for the purpose. The entire new building would be completed within the next two years and its ground floor would be completed within the next six months. For designing the new building, local architects would be engaged through a bidding process.

Further, he said a statue of noted freedom fighter Md Tayebullah would be installed on the vacant plot of land lying between the Handique Girls� College and the Nabin Bordoloi Hall and Library.

Various organisations and individuals, including two organisations of the architects � the Association of Architects, Assam and the Assam Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects; Assam Library Association, noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika and former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Nagen Saikia, among others, had opposed the move to dismantle the historic building of the NCB Hall and Library and to replace it with a two-storey RCC building.

Barua said, �We decided to renovate the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall and Library building and not to demolish it. However, we have asked our architect and engineer to prepare a design for a new modern one-storey public hall with underground parking facilities. This building will be built in the space available between the existing Assam type building of the NCB Hall and the Cotton College Rajanikanta Bordoloi Boys� Hostel.�

Asked as to what prompted the GMDA to go for a decision to dismantle the old building of the NCB Hall and Library, the GMDA chairman said that he was requested by several leading citizens like ex- Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University (GU) Dr NK Choudhury, veteran journalists Kanak Sen Deka and DN Chakravorty and senior advocate Shailen Medhi, to replace the old NCB Hall building with a spacious two-storey building with modern facilities, keeping its heritage intact.

When contacted, veteran journalist DN Chakravartty told this correspondent that �We should have sentiments. But my grandmother�s sentiment against my coming out of Jorhat to Guwahati would have landed me in a pitiable situation. Similarly, sentiment of our general masses in respect of the NCB Hall, although it needs to be understood in its perspective, should not prevent us from taking practical decisions demanded by the change in time.�

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GMDA retracts from demolition bid

GUWAHATI, June 16 � In the face of public opposition, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) today retracted from its stand on the demolition of the historic Assam Type Nabin Chandra Bordoloi (NCB) Hall and Library building for the purpose of replacing it with a two-storey RCC building.

GMDA chairman Dhiren Barua told this correspondent here today that the proposal to demolish the 105-year-old Assam Type building of the NCB Hall and Library to make room for a two-storey RCC building was �at a very nascent stage.�

�The proposal was at a discussion level and the public reaction to the proposal has showed us a new direction. We honour the public sentiment and now we have gone for a final decision discarding the earlier idea of dismantling the historic building,�

Barua said.

The GMDA chairman had earlier informed this correspondent, on June 10, of the Metropolitan Authority�s decision to dismantle the existing building of the Nabin Bordoloi Hall and Library.

He also apprised that an amount of Rs 2 crore was allocated by the GMDA for the purpose. The entire new building would be completed within the next two years and its ground floor would be completed within the next six months. For designing the new building, local architects would be engaged through a bidding process.

Further, he said a statue of noted freedom fighter Md Tayebullah would be installed on the vacant plot of land lying between the Handique Girls� College and the Nabin Bordoloi Hall and Library.

Various organisations and individuals, including two organisations of the architects � the Association of Architects, Assam and the Assam Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects; Assam Library Association, noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika and former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Nagen Saikia, among others, had opposed the move to dismantle the historic building of the NCB Hall and Library and to replace it with a two-storey RCC building.

Barua said, �We decided to renovate the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall and Library building and not to demolish it. However, we have asked our architect and engineer to prepare a design for a new modern one-storey public hall with underground parking facilities. This building will be built in the space available between the existing Assam type building of the NCB Hall and the Cotton College Rajanikanta Bordoloi Boys� Hostel.�

Asked as to what prompted the GMDA to go for a decision to dismantle the old building of the NCB Hall and Library, the GMDA chairman said that he was requested by several leading citizens like ex- Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University (GU) Dr NK Choudhury, veteran journalists Kanak Sen Deka and DN Chakravorty and senior advocate Shailen Medhi, to replace the old NCB Hall building with a spacious two-storey building with modern facilities, keeping its heritage intact.

When contacted, veteran journalist DN Chakravartty told this correspondent that �We should have sentiments. But my grandmother�s sentiment against my coming out of Jorhat to Guwahati would have landed me in a pitiable situation. Similarly, sentiment of our general masses in respect of the NCB Hall, although it needs to be understood in its perspective, should not prevent us from taking practical decisions demanded by the change in time.�