Concern over construction at heritage Brookside

Shillong, Apr 18: Concerns have been raised regarding the construction works at Brookside of Rilbong, Zigzag Road here.


Rilbong resident Malabika Bisharad who pursues heritage related issues said in a statement that Brookside where Rabindranath Tagore stayed in October 1919 for three weeks is facing construction of a road and parking space.

She reminded that in December last year, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had included  Brookside as heritage site along with other heritage places of Shillong. On March 6 this year, Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Lyngdoh had laid the foundation stone of the Tagore Cultural Complex at Brookside.

According to Bisharad, Brookside was owned by K.C Dey, the then Assistant Commissioner of Chittagong Division during British rule in India. Nobel laureate Tagore rented Brookside Bungalow from Dey to stay during October 1919 . As per the records with the state government, “the property (Brookside) was taken over by Meghalaya government on  September 19, 1989 from Kamal Chandra Dey and B.R Roy Chowdhury from Kolkata at a cost of Rs 5,54,15.09 lakh for Arts and Culture Department for the purpose of establishing a centre for creativity and cultural complex of the state and also to make a memorial where Tagore stayed during his visit to Shillong.”
” It is very unfortunate that a motorable road is being constructed through Brookside, the backdrop of Tagore’s famous novel “Shesher Kobita”/ “Farewell My Friend” which he had penned in South India in 1928″, she said.
Last year on May 9, Prime Minister’s Office had requested the Directorate of Arts and Culture Meghalaya to preserve Brookside as heritage site in memory of Tagore.
“We hope the state government will rethink before constructing the road through Brookside. For the construction of the road one old tree was cut. We hope ancient trees of Brookside heritage site will be protected. The road might be helpful for all of us who are living in Zigzag Road locality but Brookside heritage site will lose it’s ancient beauty and serenity*, Bisharad said.
She has also sent letters to the government officials for action.

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