Demolish Devaraja Market and Lansdowne buildings
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Demolish Devaraja Market and Lansdowne buildings

October 5, 2023

Former Congress Mayors urge State Government

Mysore/Mysuru: Even as the predicament among authorities over demolition of the landmark Lansdowne and Devaraja Market buildings continues,  several former Congress Mayors of the city have urged the State Government to demolish the over century old dilapidated Devaraja Market and Lansdowne buildings in the heart of the city and construct new ones at the same  spot.

Addressing a joint press meet at Congress Bhavan near the City Railway Station here this morning, former Mayors R.G. Narasimha Iyengar and B.K. Prakash wanted the Government to demolish the two buildings and construct new structures, while maintaining all  their heritage characteristics.

Maintaining after construction of new buildings, the present tenants must be given first preference to continue their tenancy. They also said that they will present a memorandum to the Chief Minister Siddharamaiah in this regard soon.

Highlighting that Rs. 4,000 crore grants were sanctioned by Chief Minister Siddharamaiah during his first tenure as the CM (2013-18), they said that the opposition parties are making baseless allegations against Siddharamaiah while also questioning the CM’s  contributions to his home district.

They said the Congress was ready for an open public debate on Siddharamaiah’s contributions for Mysuru district.

Referring to sewage water issue in the city, the former Mayors said that it is a matter of concern that sewage and drainage waters are entering river beds.

Stressing on the need for evolving a viable plan for stopping sewage water overflowing and entering river beds, they said they will take up the matter with local MLAs.

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After consulting the Legislators, the former Mayors will take out a delegation to the CM for addressing issues bothering the city, they said.

Commenting on veteran Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa’s recent statements that Veerashaiva Officials are not getting important positions in the present dispensation, the ex-Mayors maintained that such statements only cause embarrassment for the party.

Dismissing Shivashankarappa’s statements as unfounded, they said that CM Siddharamaiah was not casteist and was striving for equal opportunities for all castes and communities, in keeping with social justice.

Former Mayors Modamani, R. Ananthu and Chikkanna, Congress leaders Tiwari, Bhaskar and others were present at the press meet.

History of demolition row

The Mysuru District Heritage Committee headed by the then Deputy Commissioner Dr. Bagadi Gautham in April 2022, had favoured  demolition of the two buildings and construction of new ones while retaining their original design, façades, heritage style and all other characteristics. The decision was based on the ground that the buildings were structurally weak and posed a threat to public safety .

The Task Force appointed by the State Government, after carrying out a structural study, too had recommended demolition of the two buildings.

On the other hand, the Devaraja Market tenants are vehemently opposing the demolition of the building.

It may be mentioned here that four persons were killed on the spot and a few others sustained injuries when the roof of a portion of Lansdowne building collapsed due to overnight heavy rains in August 2012. Soon after the incident, the shopkeepers were asked to vacate and the building, which has been barricaded, has remained empty and idle since then, with the authorities unable to take any decision regarding whether or not to demolish the building and construct a new one.

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Sections of the Devaraja Market had collapsed on two separate occasions, with the collapse of the Northern entrance of the Market due to rains in 2016 being the recent one. Additionally, 150 shops in 1981, 175 shops in 1990 and 30 shops in late 1990 were damaged in fire that broke out in the Market.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court in August 2023, too had dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the MCC’s plans to demolish and reconstruct the 137-year-old Devaraja Market (built in 1886) due to its deteriorating condition. The HC in its ruling observed that the two Heritage Committees, comprising experts, had endorsed the decision to demolish the building.

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