Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) yesterday condemned the government's move to construct Sylhet District Hospital by demolishing Abu Sina Hostel -- an over 150-year-old structure used as a dormitory for Sylhet Medical College students -- at Chowhatta in Sylhet city.
They urged the government to choose another site for the hospital and to preserve the building under the archaeology department.
Bapa, in association with Sylhet-er Oitijjho Rokhhay Oikyabadhho Nagorik Samaj, made the demand at a press conference in Sagor-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters' Unity.
In her speech, Bapa Vice President Rasheda K Chowdhury said the hostel should be protected as it carries legacy of a bygone era.
“Concerned authorities say that a huge amount of government money will be wasted if the plan is canceled but this is just an excuse… They need to understand that money will return but the heritage building won't if it's destroyed,” she said.
Former Institute of Architects Bangladesh president Prof Abu Sayeed M Ahmed said any hundred-year-old building that becomes an iconic structure should be protected.
Mustafa Shahzaman Chowdhury Bahar, spokesperson of Nagorik Samaj of Sylhet, said, “We visited another site for the hospital under the supervision of former finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith so that the government can preserve the heritage of Sylhet.”
Presenting a research paper on the historic building, Kaushik Saha, a professor of architecture at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, said the building, which was constructed between 1850 and 1860, is a witness to history.
On January 30 last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid foundation stone of the hospital along with 20 other projects in Sylhet. PWD started the project on July 9, 2018 with a timeframe of 24 months, and the construction work on the land started in March.