What is a Heritage Pond
What is a Heritage Pond?
Heritage Pond is a new category. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has a ‘Heritage Committee’ which has made a list of heritage buildings and there are some restrictions in uses of these buildings. Kolkata Municipal Act 1980, Section 2 (42A) defines heritage building as “Any building depicting characteristics, historic, scientific or social value, any building associated with important social, political, cultural, scientific or technological movement, any building with striking architectural significance in respect of style, design, use of construction material etc.” (https://www.kmcgov.in/KMCPortal/jsp/HeritageBuildingHome.jsp accessed on 16 August 2011)
It may be noted that there is no criteria of age for assigning a building heritage status.
There is no official criteria or definition for ‘Heritage Ponds’ But our journey through the pounds of Kolkata revealed that how a number of ponds of this city are related to the history and culture of the city. For search of Heritage Ponds, the author considered a set of criteria such as:
a) The ponds should be 75 years or more old; (The city is about 325 years old)
b) Association with some historical, cultural, religious events, personalities or families;
c) Association with local history.
These characteristics, however, often overlap.
The author’s search, till now, has identified 59 ponds as heritage ponds. Details of 48 of these ponds can be obtained in ‘Old Mirrors – Traditional Ponds of Kolkata’ by Mohit Ray published by the KMC. Some highlights of this search for heritage ponds are given below:
§ Out of the 59 identified heritage ponds, 34 ponds (60%) have been referred for the first time
§ 36 identified heritage ponds (61%) are more than 150 years old
§ No pond except Manohardas Tarag has any plaque or information board about the origin/history of the pond.
§ 23 (40%) heritage ponds have religious structures along with them.
§ 36 wards (25% of all wards) have at least one heritage pond. Kolkata City Corporation is divided into 141 administrative wards.