The Bihar Post

Development projects pose threats to heritage structure, several govt schools in Bihar

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PATNA—Development works being carried under the Nitish Kumar government are now costing Bihar dear, literally.

While a portion of the iconic 130-year-old Khuda Baksh library building faces demolition to make way for a flyover, 10 government schools are being razed to the ground to widen another road and make the traffic smooth.

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At present, historians, researchers, scholars and intelligentsia are up in arms against the state government’s plan to bulldoze a portion of the heritage Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna to construct a flyover.

The iconic library with 21,000 rare manuscripts and over 2.5 lakh books in various languages has been attracting researchers from across the globe.

ALSO READ: Historians, scholars protest govt’s plan to bulldoze portion of iconic Khuda Baksh library in Patna to make way for flyover

A group of educationists, historians, scholars and cultural artists have threatened to take to the streets if the government went ahead with its plan to demolish the library building.

“We can’t allow the people to demolish the structures preserving our rich heritage and culture. The government will have to make a change in its plan instead,” they warned.

The signatories of the warning letter included Pro DM Diwakar, former director of Patna-based AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Prof Shankar Ashish Dutt, Prof Muniba Sami, Prof Bharti S Kumar, Prof Daisy Narayan, Alok Dhanva, Tanvir Akhtar and Nivedita Jha.

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Bihar assembly’s Library Committee chairman Sudama Prasad has shot off a letter to the Assembly Speaker, urging him to immediately intervene in the matter and save the heritage structure being demolished.

Former IPS official Amitabh Kumar Das has even returned his Police Medal to the President of India to protest the government’s move to demolish the library building.

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The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), on the other hand, has written a letter to the chief minister urging the latter to protect the building saying the library is a “heritage of Indian culture”.

In a sudden U-turn, the government today said the partial demolition would be carried out only if the library authorities gave their consent.

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Some of library’s rare collections of the library set up in 1891 include Tarikh-e-Khandan-e-Timuriyah, a history of Mughal dynasty commissioned by Emperor Akbar and the only manuscript of its kind, a copy of English poet Lord Byron’s Ode to Napoleon in which two additional stanzas have been added in what is considered to be Byron’s own handwriting and a miniature copy of the Quran that is 2.5 mm wide.

Similarly, the state government is demolishing 10 government schools in Gaya district to widen a road connecting Patna from Gaya. Of the total schools to be demolished, four are middle schools, three primary schools and the rest high schools.

Education department officials said they would require around Rs4 crore to search for suitable land for these schools and shift them into new buildings but these all processes would take time.However, the proposed demolition of schools has left the local villagers angry.

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Prior to that the study of the children suffered a lot after the Maoists blasted  more than 50 government schools in the state using dynamites and other explosives to protest government offensive against them.

The demolition prompted the poor schoolchildren to write an emotional open letter to the rebels urging them to spare the temples of learning.

In their reply, the Maoists regretted their acts but said they had no options other than demolishing these schools since they are being used to launch operations against the poor.

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Courtesy:The Statesman, India

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