AKM Shahjahan Kamal, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism speaks on "Conservation and Preservation of Heritage Sites” -Photo : Monitor
: We must conserve and preserve whatever heritage sites we have now, to attract tourists. If we are unable to do so, these will disappear with the passage of time.
AKM Shahjahan Kamal, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism said while addressing a workshop on "Conservation and Preservation of Heritage Sites and Their Promotion as Tourism Attractions" at CIRDAP auditorium in the city on June 26.
About 80 representatives from different departments, organisations and agencies of the government as well as tourism stakeholders from the private sector including tour operators participated in the daylong workshop.
The minister said, we have already lost some (heritage sites), and some are on the way (of being lost). He spoke of the urgent need to save, conserve, preserve and promote them, to attract tourists.
Md Mohibul Haq, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, regretted the absence of awareness to save the heritage buildings. The over 200-year-old former Central Jail has been preserved due to timely action, he said.
But there are many beautiful buildings in the city which could not be saved, he said, adding no heritage building exist now at Wari, which he termed as the most posh area of the old days.
Akhteruz Zaman Khan Kabir, Chairman, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) called for the formulation of a national policy as well as a time-bound action plan. If we are able to do so then we would be able to attract donors to finance conservation of the sites, he said.
Earlier in his keynote presentation, Dr AKM Shahnawaz, Professor, Department of Archaeology, Jahangirnagar University, giving an instance of the present state of most of the heritage sites, said the megalithic stones near Jaintia Rajbari in Sylhet were lying uncared for.
Posters were plastered on them and one had a tyre of nearby car-repair garage on top. Near the Rajbari there was a message that it's (Rajbari) restoration was done, but actually there was no sign of it in the crumbling palace.
On the other hand, the Stonehenge in Yorkshire, United Kingdom had five miles of empty space around it. Tourists simply love that place, Dr Shahnawaz said.
Extensive group discussions were held in the second session while the third session included open discussion. The workshop concluded with the presentation by the Rapporteur who summed up the recommendations of the participants.