Kolkata: Having pulled down the existence of the host of heritage buildings, promoters have set their eyes on 200-year-old Bible Society Bhavan in the heart of the city. 

Located on Jawharlal Nehru Road in downtown Chowringhee area, the 200-year-old Bible Society building is listed as a Grade-I heritage building and identified as a Public Institution by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

Sadly, authorities are mulling over to demolish the edifice having heritage importance. What is more surprising is the fact that none other than Bible Society of India (BSI) is planning to pull down the old heritage building and handover the land for business development. For this purpose, the authorities of BSI are looking for the promoters.

BSI National President, Dr Navmani Peter said, “We are planning to completely pull down the building. A lawyer has been appointed to see how this can be done. There will be a meeting of the BSI Kolkata unit on June 25 where his suggestions would be taken up for a decision on how to develop the property,"

When pointed out that the building enjoys heritage status, Peter said, "The lawyer will give us his suggestions after looking into all aspects."

However, the decision of BSI has raised the brows of the local Christian community which is strongly opposing the move.

It is noteworthy that the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society was established on February 21, 1811, where as the Bible Society of India came into being in 1944. Since Independence, it is headquartered in Bangalore.

Church sources said the BSI’s plan to raze the heritage building came into light when the Secretary of the BSI’s Kolkata unit, Sajal Biswas, informed a meeting of the Society on May 24 that he had been asked to vacate the building as it was to be developed.

Some of those present in the meeting opposed this decision of the Society and signed a letter of protest and handed it over a senior church functionary claiming that BSI was selling off the property to a private promoter for development.

However, denying the statement, Biswas said, “It is untrue that the property is being sold off, it will be developed.”

Sources at Kolkata Municipal Corporation said local authorities of BSI had approached the civic body in order to seek permission to develop the building, but were told to submit all relevant documents before a decision could be taken.

JPN/Bureau