It is incomprehensible how the Department of Archeology can leave several historic structures on the verge of ruins in Chittagong. According to research conducted by a former official of the Chittagong University Museum, at least 36 structures built during the Sultani, Mughal and British colonial periods in the port city are on the brink of destruction due to indifference of the authorities concerned.
Not only have the authorities not taken any measures to preserve these heritage sites, they have allowed renovation projects that, in many cases, disrupt the integrity of the original architecture. For instance, the construction of a three-story extension to Hammadia Mosque, a Sultani-era structure in Sitakunda, obstructs the view of the beautiful antiquity from three sides. The entrance of the five-century-old mosque has been badly damaged while motifs have been covered with tiles in some parts of the walls inside the building.
The government must be aware of what we are losing here. These treasures are a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, and economic legacies - all of the things that literally make us who we are. Losing them not by natural or man-made disasters but by simple neglect is unacceptable.
The Antiquities Act 1968 (amended in 1976) which prohibits damage or modification to any historic site should be strictly enforced. And the Ministry of Cultural Affairs should issue a directive to the Department of Archeology to address this matter with due diligence.