The Lost Heritage, Kolkata

I wrote  recently about the lost heritage in Bangkok and what I thought were the reasons behind the total neglect of these buildings.
I just returned from Kolkata and believe me what I saw was beyond comprehension. Some amazing architectural pieces were at the verge of collapse.
Kolkata was the first British Capital of India and thus has one of the richest legacy of built heritage. However because of a total lack of legislation and awareness to protect this heritage some of its landmark buildings are lost such as  – the Senate Hall of the Calcutta University, Darbhanga Palace, Dalhousie Institute, to name a few.
In 1984, a chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage became effective in  the city but it wasn’t until 1997 that it really began working. Buildings have been categorized based on their historical significance but  many of them have been damaged beyond repair. Structural damages is making the restoration of some of them a very costly affair as well.
The buildings I have seen were mostly in central CBD Kolkata, which is different from Bangkok case where a lot of the old buildings were mostly located  in a distressed part of the city.
 Land cost in Kolkata CDB  has been increasing exponentially thus making restoration and use of these buildings not a very attractive proposition for private developers. Basically they make no financial sense at all for an commercial venture.
In the other hand government funds are limited to the very historically significant ones, the rest is vanishing as we speak.
As I’m writing I’m thinking, what can a country like India which had a very rich heritage and a huge number of buildings to be conserved do?
India as a country have very pressing issues like education, health, and housing its poor. How one justifies  taking funds to restore old buildings when these funds are scarce for even the most basic humans needs ?
But again how can we allow part of our history to fade away?
So many questions…
So very few answers!

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