The Bihar government was facing stiff opposition from public for plan to disfigure the historic library
NEW DELHI – The Bihar government has decided to spare the historic Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library from being disfigured. The heritage portion of the library was to be bulldozed to pave the way for construction of a 2.20-km-long double-decker road on Ashok Raj Path, a highly congested place in the middle of the town that hosts a number of important institutions.
Now as per the changed plan the proposed road would be slightly reduced near the library to save one of its heritage structures, George Curzon reading hall, from demolition. A portion of the reading hall of the library, which is a repository of ancient manuscripts, books and paintings, was earlier planned to be razed for the unique double-decker road being built by the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Limited (BRPNNL).
Media reports have quoted Amrit Lal Meena, additional chief secretary at the road construction department, as saying that the BRPNNL had abandoned the plan of demolishing the part of the library as of now. “However, this will have a bearing on the width of the elevated road in a certain stretch,” said Meena, who is also chairman of the BRPNNL.
The Bihar government plan to demolish a portion of the library was vehemently opposed by the intelligentsia. Scholars, academicians, writers, book lovers and those concerned with heritage were up in arms. They held meetings, issued statements and petitioned authorities with a plea to spare this iconic library and its heritage building and find an alternative route for the flyover.
Those who conceived and designed the flyover perhaps did not realise the resistance they would face. The reason is all the institutions on the Ashok Raj Path, except the library, come under the Bihar government. Therefore, obtaining NOCs from them was not an issue because it’s a state government project. The library comes under the Union Ministry of Culture. Knowing the apathy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to anything Islam and Muslim is well-known. So, partially demolishing and disfiguring an institution of international repute was not a big deal for the planners of the flyover.