Visva Bharati University Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty on Monday urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to return a road in the varsity campus that was taken by the state government and put under the control of the PWD.
In a letter to the CM, the VC said Santiniketan is now a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO on September 17.
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Chakraborty said the road should be returned to enable the central university administration to stop or at least monitor the movement of vehicles and save the heritage buildings located alongside the road within the premises of the world-renowned higher educational institution which was founded by Rabindranath Tagore over a hundred year back.
The three km long road, a popular one among local residents used as a shortcut to reach from the post office more to Sriniketan, was taken over in 2021 by PWD from the university to “facilitate better movement and connectivity” and Visva Bharati had been demanding the stretch be returned to it for retaining the sanctity of the place and help to save the heritage structures lined along the route.
“We have now greater responsibility to safeguard this heritage site. Under these circumstances, I earnestly request you to help us maintain the ashram area to retain the tag for us and also for posterity,” Chakraborty said in the letter to the chief minister.
He said “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 letter said, “The noise which is an outcome of the plying of vehicles creates vibration that also causes harm to the buildings and also disturbs the tranquillity of the ashram areas. It is also a matter of great concern that access to the ashram is restricted by the haphazard parking of the totos (e-rickshaws) on both sides of the road. The chaotic conditions, created as a result, disturb the free movement of those visiting Visva Bharati to see the ashram,”
“Keeping the above points in mind, my request is to allow Visva Bharati to monitor the movement of vehicles on this road passing through the ashram area. I am sure that given your concern for the ashram and appreciation of Gurudev’s contribution to humanity, you will happily approve our earnest request since it is necessary to sustain the tag, we have received out of the hard work of many who worked tirelessly to make this happen,” he said.
Visva Bharati SFI leader Somnath Sow told PTI, “While the authorities talk about restricting the movement of totos in the campus, the security guards manning the gates are themselves allowing these vehicles in. Why they cannot ask the security agencies entrusted to monitor the movement of totos,?”
Visvsa Bharati spokesperson Mahua Banerjee told PTI, “We have requested either the road be returned by PWD to allow us to save the buildings lined along the route from vibration due to movement of vehicles adjacent to the heritage structures.
Otherwise, Visva Bharati be allowed to monitor vehicular movement along the stretch. This is imperative after the UNESCO tag. We had made the same request in 2021 but there was no response.”
She said to a question, that the parking spot and movement of vehicles along the stretch both fall under the jurisdiction of the PWD and unless Visva Bharati has full control, the chaotic situation and the inherent danger and threat to the buildings in the campus, will not go.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)