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Netrakona's cultural activities come to a halt in absence of modern auditorium

OUR CORRESPONDENT | October 26, 2020 00:00:00

Photo shows the empty space where the Mahua auditorium was situated — FE Photo

NETRAKONA, Oct 25 :Mahua Auditorium, the lone auditorium in the district town's Mokter para, was closed down permanently eight years ago. There has been no effort to build another one for holding cultural programmes since then.

Netrakonais consist sof of 10 upazilas. But presently there is no auditorim in the town to hold cultural programmes and other events. The lack of an auditorium is severely affecting the cultural life of the town, and cultural organisations there are going to extict one after another.

Netrakona is the origin of the famous Mymensingh Geetika, a collection of folk ballads from the region. The district has innumerable symbols of folk cultures such as Baul, Bhatiali, Jari, Sari, Palagaan, Dhop, Kichcha, Kobi Gaan and Jatra.

In 1979, the cultural ministry had constructed an auditorium here named after Mahua, the main character of the Mymensingh Geetika. Despite faulty construction and decoration, the auditorium had become the centre for the district's cultural activities. It also became the centre for political organisations to hold meetings and rallies.

As many as 28 cultural organisations such as Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, Shilpakala Academy, Shotodol, Shikarh, Protyasha had played an active role in the district town 30 years ago. There were eight Jatrapala troops in the district. These organisations used to compete for arranging monthly or biennial cultural programmes.

Mostafizur Rahman, district unit president of Udichi, said, "It is difficult to stage dramas and other programmes without a modern auditorium. We have not been able to stage dramas for several years. We have kept our organisations functional by holding some indoor programmes."

After the Mahua auditorium was built, the Zilla Shilpakala Academy filed a case claiming ownership of the building. But the court gave Netrakona Municipality the responsibility of maintaining the building. However, the auditorium became unfit for use after 30 years because of faulty construction and lack of proper maintenance, and the municipality had to close it down in 2012.

After that, the district administration renovated the old, dilapidated and tin-shed public hall in the town's Mokterpara area. Then, political meetings, rallies, programmes marking different days and a few cultural functions were arranged at the hall. But it has insufficient sitting arrangements.

Zila Shilpakala Academy's former general secretary and drama-artist Sanawar Hossain Bhuiyan said, "We formed multiple human chains and pleaded to different offices demanding a modern auditorium in Netrakona. But all our efforts were in vain."

Poet Tanvir Jahan Chowdhury, a former member of the Shilpakala Academy, said that due to the lack of an auditorium, the entertainment of cultural workers is not being practiced properly. So if the work is completed very quickly, the entertainment environment will return, he said.

Netrakona Municipality Mayor Nazrul Islam Khan said Tk 6 crore has been allocated from the Ministry of Culture for the auditorium and the ministry has sent permission papers for allocating Tk 4 crore from the municipality's funds. He added that there are plans to set up a community center above the auditorium. He said that the tender process will start soon.

Deputy Commissioner Kazi Abdur Rahman, said that the administration has decided to demolish the old auditorium and build a modern one in its place. He also said that the government plans to construct another auditorium in the town as well.

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