A number of activists, including artists and filmmakers, and school children on Wednesday took to the streets here to highlight the threat the city's cultural heritage was facing from the onslaught of modernity.
Author Amit Chaudhuri, filmmaker Aparna Sen, former chief of Prasar Bharati Jawhar Sircar, conservation architect Manish Chakraborti were among the people who protested and demanded better heritage legislation for preserving the historic fabric of the city.
INTACH Kolkata Chapter Convener G M Kapur, who took part in the protest march from Raja Subodh Mullick Square to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) office, said, "Few of us later went and submitted a petition to the KMC Office".
The protest was called by Calcutta Architecture Legacies (CAL), a civil society initiative led by Chaudhuri and supported by INTACH.
It coincided with the World Heritage Day today.
"During the nearly 2 km-long march, students from schools also joined us. Amit addressed to crowd at the starting and end points and also mid-way," Kapur said.
Sen and her husband, Sircar, a few well-known local artists also joined the march, he said.
Chaudhuri said, "The fate of old buildings, many of which are unique to Calcutta, is ultimately in our hands. Several listed ones no longer exist. Heritage zones and precincts and a new list are needed," he said.
The author said Kolkata was suffering loss of architectural heritage for decades but pulling down of Old Kenilworth Hotel and partial demolition being carried out at the building housing the Barra Bazaar branch of the historic Metropolitan Institution proved to be the last straw.
"We want to exert pressure sure on the government to acknowledge that our heritage deserves better," he said.