Conservation norms bypassed in Heritage Arch restoration
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Conservation norms bypassed in Heritage Arch restoration

May 13, 2019

Mysuru: The city has no doubt a heritage tag and accordingly many heritage structures are being conserved. However, in direct contrast to this preservation, in the name of repairs, the work on the 150-year-old heritage North side Arch that leads to the Government Guest House is going on openly without any hindrance. And shockingly the works are being carried out violating conservation norms.

It may be recalled that when the Rs.3.5 crore road widening and development work under the Chief Minister’s Rs.100 crore special grant began from the SP Office Circle, Nazarbad to Five Lights Circle, Lashkar Mohalla, on the Abba Road and B.N. Road stretch, it was said that the heritage Arch would not be touched. Besides, the road development works in this 450-metre stretch, widening it by 30 metres on either side was taken up.

Already the Government Guest House compound has been demolished and pushed 40 feet inside and a new compound has been built. Fearing opposition from the public to the removal of the North side Arch, it has been retained. However, as there is no compound on either side, it is standing like an orphan.

Even the restoration of the arch is included in the total estimate of the works. However, the way it is being restored will shock a conservationist. The arch is being plastered using a little sand, more quantity of M-Sand and mixing it with cement.

There is the fear of the artistic Arch which has Mysore Palace symbol Gandaberunda (Twin-headed mystic bird), Kalasha and the creepers being buried. Without bothering about the heritage conservation, in the name of restoration such art is being destroyed.

When heritage structures are renovated, permission must be taken from the District Heritage Committee and the Department of Archaeology and Museums and if it becomes inevitable to shift a monument or a structure then also permission is required.

None of these rules seems to have been followed here. Archaeology experts say that a proportionate mixture of river sand, lime, water, eggs and jaggery should be used and it should be mixed with burnt brick pieces and soap-nut and made into a paste and used as plaster. However, throwing all norms to the wind, the heritage Arch is being plastered with cement.

While it has been decided to preserve the heritage Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building and structures like Commandant Bhujangarao Jagadale and Postman Basappa in front of the KARP Mounted Police Headquarters was shifted to a safer place with utmost care, it is sad to see the fate of the Arch at the North side of the Government Guest House.

The Arch is in one of the most prominent places that most of the tourists who enter the city have a view of while travelling in KSRTC buses or other modes of transport. How right is this to ruin a heritage structure is the question heritage conservationists and the citizens are asking.

Work stopped: Following a report in Mysooru Mithra, the sister publication of Star of Mysore,  the restoration work on the heritage Arch of Government Guest House on the north side has been stopped since the last three days.

Speaking to Star of Mysore here this morning, MCC Zone-7 Development Officer Srinivas said that after the report appeared in Mysooru Mithra, the issue was brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar, who then asked the work to be stopped.

Since the model code of conduct is in place, the opinion of the local MLA cannot be taken. The DC has told him (Srinivas) that the Heritage Committee experts will be consulted and only then steps will be taken regarding the restoration work of the arch.

The matter will also be brought up before the government and only after the premise is inspected will a decision be taken at the government-level to repair it, said Srinivas.

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