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Move to demolish NC Bordoloi Hall opposed


GUWAHATI, June 12 � The Association of Architects, Assam (AAA) has opposed the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority�s (GMDA) move to demolish the historic Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall and Library building.

AAA president Tikendrajit Saikia told this correspondent today, �We are confused as to how the GMDA will build the two-storied modern building by �preserving the heritage of the building.� New construction and conservation are both different in nature. The GMDA is perhaps not sure about what it wants to do. Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall and Library building is one of the finest examples of the Assam Type heritage structures with eekora (reed) walls, sloped roof, dormer windows etc., with many more elements, which need to be conserved.

�Now when the entire world, especially Europe, is conserving the century-old buildings like the Roman collegiums, Egyptian pyramids etc., the GMDA should collect information about how conservation is done.

�Conservation of the century-old buildings has become a specialised post-graduate course done by architects and civil engineers,� Saikia said, adding �We welcome the allocation of Rs 2 crore for the Nabin Bordoloi Hall project. But the money should be spent on conservation only, not on demolition and new construction of the building.

If we bulldoze the building, we will lose the originality of the structure and historicity of the place. We expect that GMDA chairman Dhiren Barua, who is also the founder president of the Save Guwahati Build Guwahati (SGBG), will not destroy the heritage of the building and its site,� said the AAA president.

He also made an appeal to the state government to straightway declare the building as a heritage one to facilitate its take over by the Archaeological Survey of India. A similar step should also be taken in relation to the other century-old buildings of the state, said the AAA president.

Noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika, who has been studying the history of Guwahati scrupulously for the past about 20 years, has also called for caution in dealing with the historic structures like the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Hall. Elaborating the historicity of the building, he said that the Curzon Hall, the original building renamed later as the Nabin Bordoloi Hall in 1953, was built in 1900 with about Rs 7,000 saved from the funds raised to accord reception to the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. It was built at the site on which the old building of the Cotton College Library is situated.

In 1910, it was shifted to its present location. The building is not only connected with the memories of Lord Curzon and Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi, it is also connected with the memories of many leading lights of the 19th and 20th century Assamese society, like the late honourable Manik Chandra Barooah, who set up the historic Cotton College almost single-handedly.

Manik Chandra Barooah was the president of the reception committee formed to greet the Viceroy during his visit to the state in 1900, which was aimed at assessing the post-1897 earthquake scenario. Due to the strict austerity measures adopted by the reception committee under Manik Chandra Barooah, the committee could save around Rs 7,000 collected from the people, Hazarika said.

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