The demolition of the centuries-old Patna Collectorate to make way for a new complex was a "mistake" and the historic landmark should have been preserved and conserved for future generations, BJP MP from Bihar, Sushil Kumar Singh said.
Citing the example of the new Sansad Bhawan which was built without harming the old Parliament building, the Lok Sabha member said the Nitish Kumar government "could have built the new Patna Collectorate complex elsewhere" while saving the heritage structures of the old one.
Singh, a four-time MP from Aurangabad, made the remarks during an interaction in Delhi, soon after attending the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday amid a boycott by several opposition parties, including Kumar's JD(U) and its ally the RJD.
The Bihar chief minister on Saturday asserted that there was "no need" for a new Parliament building and had dubbed the function as an attempt to "change history by those who had made no contributions to the freedom struggle".
The BJP MP slammed Kumar over his remarks on the new Parliament building, saying the chief minister should recall that it was he who had opened the new annexe building of the Bihar legislature in 2016.
On the Bihar chief minister's charge of the grand event on May 28 being an attempt to change history, Singh said, the Bihar government razed the historic Patna Collectorate, and a new complex is coming up in its place.
"The old Patna Collectorate was a heritage landmark of Patna, and it should have been preserved and conserved for future generations," the Aurangabad MP said.
But, the old Collectorate was pulled down in the name of development, so who's changing history, he asked.
The construction of the new, high-rise Patna Collectorate complex on the banks of Ganga is currently underway in full swing in the Bihar capital, and chief minister Kumar had on May 13 this year visited the project site and directed officials to expedite the work.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of March 2024.
The demolition of the Collectorate, a cluster of old buildings, endowed with high ceilings, massive doors, magnificent pillars, and carrying centuries of history within its walls, had begun a day after the Supreme Court rejected the INTACH's petition to save the landmark on May 13 last year.
Several historians, scholars, conservation architects, Gandhians and ordinary citizens had expressed anguish over the demolition of the historic Patna Collectorate and urged that proactive steps be taken so that no other public landmark in Patna should meet a similar "cruel fate".
In 2016, when the demolition was proposed by the Bihar government, the then-Dutch ambassador and the London-based Gandhi Foundation, besides a number of citizens had appealed to spare the demolition and preserve the old Collectorate, parts of which were built during the Dutch era and the British period.
Citing the Modi government's vision of 'Vikas bhi, Virasat bhi', the BJP MP said the Centre has in fact, "preserved the old Parliament building, as it is a heritage".
"Similarly, the old Collectorate should have been saved, and a new Patna Collectorate could have been built elsewhere by the state government," he added.
The Aurangabad MP said the new Parliament building embodies beautiful architecture and represents the spirit of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' as it demonstrates that India now has the capabilities to dream, design, build and execute such projects all by itself.
"This is totally a made-in-India building, and it has modern amenities and reflection of the country's cultural heritage," he said.
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