Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building: Heritage Committee favours demolition
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Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building: Heritage Committee favours demolition

April 14, 2022
  • Opinion to be submitted to the High Court and State Government, says DC
  • Structurally weak buildings to be razed but heritage design to be retained

Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru District Heritage Committee that met at the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) Office yesterday under the leadership of DC Dr. Bagadi Gautham, who is also the Chairman of the Committee, has taken a decision to demolish the Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building and reconstruct them by retaining their original design, facades and the heritage style.

The decision has been taken on the grounds that both the buildings are structurally weak and would pose a threat to public safety. Already a couple of lives have been lost, the DC told Star of Mysore this morning.

While the Task Force appointed by the State Government had recommended demolition of both the buildings, the Heritage Committee earlier had opposed it contending that it was possible to undertake repairs without demolition. Now, a case is pending before the High Court as some tenants had appealed against the demolition. Hearing the tenants, the Court had sought the Committee’s opinion.    

“Nothing much can be revealed at this stage as the matter is sub-judice and the decision of the Heritage Committee will be conveyed to the High Court and the Government as the Court has sought the opinion of the Committee. If the High Court accepts the views of the Committee, it will pave the way for the demolition and reconstruction of both the buildings,” DC said.

Some of the members of the Heritage Committee opposed the demolition and said that the Committee, by deciding on demolition, has just endorsed the decision of the State Government which has already made up its mind to raze both the heritage buildings. “As the High Court has asked the opinion of the Committee, a formality has been completed, toeing the Government line,” said the members, voicing their dissent.

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Those members who opposed the demolition highlighted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the All-India Mayors’ Conference at Varanasi in December last year following the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham project where he appealed to all Mayors not to demolish heritage buildings. The PM had urged them to rejuvenate heritage structures by infusing new life.

Majority opinion prevails

However, as a majority of the Committee members felt that demolition was the only alternative, a decision was taken in favour of demolition. Also, the Committee did not meet with its full strength as there were many absentees too and the dissenters were in minority.  

It may be recalled here that while speaking about the renovation of Rajendra Vilas Palace atop the Chamundi Hill recently, member of erstwhile Mysore royal family Pramoda Devi Wadiyar had said that Mysuru is a heritage city and tourists come here to see the heritage structures.

“But if you raze these heritage structures and construct heritage-like structures, there is no meaning for a heritage city,” she had said, offering to take up renovation under ‘His Highness Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Foundation’ if the Government takes a decision.

4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building: Heritage Committee favours demolition”

  1. Raghu C says:

    Best decision the committee has taken…hats-off to the DC and the members. Hope the state government will complete will act swiftly.

  2. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    Briefly examine why these 2 buildings left crumbling way back in 1970s.
    Lansdowne building
    Lansdowne building had a series of shops with small spaces, and the shop owners found them to be not commercially viable in 1970s, the modern time, as the businesses could not be expanded. They deserted the shops. with personal computers coming of age as do photocopiers, the job typists who for a time occupied the front space of the shops were made redundant. The shops were padlocked and the building started to cruble.
    Devaraja Market
    For decades, this market was the only market for fruits and vegetable, set in the central of the then Royal Royal city, where people walked to the Market with friends after the office hours to buy fruits and vegetables before going home. By the end of 1970s, Mysore was expanding fast, with many housing new extensions created , petrol 2 wheelers were a necessity, and the Market was no longer at the centre of this expanding city. Many local street markets sprung up which sold fruits and vegetables, which were fresh, and cheap., the latter because of no overheads like shop lease or rent, and, the vendors were villagers bringing the produce every day and sold them by the evening. Devaraja Market fruits and vegetable stalls, on the other hand, had a web of owner, lessee and sub-lent relationship , which meant heavy overheads for the sellers, and they were simply made commercially unviable, by the above nimble street markets. Customer numbers dwindled, and the Market shops closed. The building started to crumble as a result of disuse.
    Both Lansdowne building and Devaraja market became economically unviable by mid-1980s.
    If they are demolished, and reconstructed , what would they be used for?
    With the Greater Mysore intended, more street markets springing up in many newer housing extensions too, how would the resettled fruits and vegetable vendors setting up stalls in the reconstructed Devaraja market, new stalls, paying rents to them, manage to sell their produce at competitive prices?
    How would the reconstructed Lansdowne building look like? Would there be spacious shops? If so, there would not be many of them, and the with high rent/lease as overheads, what would they be for?
    India is follows the trend in the Western countries, a decade late; with brick and mortar shops becoming economically unviable in the Western World, as the on-line market place for goods expand fast, causing the closure of these brick and mortar shops. Grocery super markets selling fruits and vegetables have to compete with nimble specialist on-line vendors on-line too. The customers get the pick.
    Best, for the DC and the Heritage Committee to leave this demolition and reconstruction work to private individuals like Pramoda Devi who runs the S D Wadiyar Foundation.
    These 2 buildings’ heritage value is questionable in the sense that the Lansdowne Building was a commemoration building of a British ruler, and as for the Market, it was not inaugurated by any Wadiyar, but sprung up in a Wadiyar time, like the KR Market in Bangalore.

    As

  3. Howdy, Modi! says:

    This DC while pretending to involve the Heritage Committee, has carried out the instructions of the government. If he did not follow those those instructions.
    he would have been transferred to manage the export of dried fish containers from the Mangalore sea port!
    Reconstruction is nonsense, as it means similar buildings which were abandoned by both shop owners and customers previously, as they were not suited for expanding Mysore city. Wise to construct new buildings bearing their their original names, but to be used for entirely different purposes.
    I also think that the demolition and emergence of new buildings should be for the Srikanta Dutta Foundation to undertake. At least , the last remnant Wadiyhar , who did not do anything good, and indulged in shall we politely say, ‘other human weakness-related excesses’, would have left a lasting memorial in the form of 2 new buildings.

  4. Howdy, Modi! says:

    This DC while pretending to involve the Heritage Committee, has carried out the instructions of the government. If he did not follow those those instructions.
    he would have been transferred to manage the export of dried fish containers from the Mangalore sea port!
    Reconstruction is nonsense, as it means similar buildings which were abandoned by both shop owners and customers previously, as they were not suited for expanding Mysore city. Wise to construct new buildings bearing their their original names, but to be used for entirely different purposes.
    I also think that the demolition and emergence of new buildings should be for the Srikanta Dutta Foundation to undertake. At least , the last remnant Wadiyhar , who did not do anything good, and indulged in shall we politely say, ‘other human weakness-related excesses’, would have left a lasting memorial in the form of 2 new buildings.

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