Visva Bharati sends fresh letter to West Bengal CM demanding return of road

Visva Bharati University, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been demanding the return of the road to protect structures lined along it.

Visva Bharati sends fresh letter to West Bengal CM demanding return of road Visva Bharati University had given to public works department in 2020.
Press Trust of India | Oct 1, 2023 - 9:04 a.m. IST
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KOLKATA: Visva Bharati University vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty on Saturday sent another letter to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to consider the institution's request for the return of a road lined by heritage buildings on the campus to the university.

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The three-km road connecting Post Office More with Sriniketan, was taken over by the public works department of the state government from the university in 2020 "to facilitate better connectivity". The university has been demanding the return of the road to protect the heritage structures lined along it.

This was the VC's second letter to the CM, after one on September 25, since Santiniketan was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on September 17. The fresh letter to the CM, a copy of which is available with PTI, read: "The UNESCO tag given to Santiniketan by the International Committee for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is likely to be withdrawn... if steps are not taken to protect the heritage properties lined along the road falling under Visva Bharati property, it will be a big slap not only on West Bengal under your care but also those who worked hard day and night to get this global recognition for our beloved Santiniketan."

Also Read | Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan added to UNESCO World Heritage List

Taking a dig at a section of the Ashramites and student union leaders who have been requesting the PWD to retain the possession of the road, the VC said in the letter, "I would like to draw your attention to the fact that those who are insisting on PWD's protection for the road will not take a second to put the entire blame on the Vice Chancellor and his team in case the UNESCO tag is withdrawn.

This is the pattern of Visva-Bharati's detractors." Chakraborty, in his first letter, had stated the road should be returned to enable the central university administration to completely stop the movement of four-wheelers and three-wheelers on the road or the varsity be allowed to at least monitor the movement of the vehicles. "The road should be made free of vehicles because as per the Archaeological Survey of India, the vibration due to the plying of vehicles (except two-wheelers) adversely affects the building inside the ashram. And the ASI warned that if this is not stopped immediately, these buildings will just collapse in the course of time," the varsity had said in the previous letter.

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