Financial crunch to restore heritage buildings: Mayor to lead delegation to CM seeking budget grants
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Financial crunch to restore heritage buildings: Mayor to lead delegation to CM seeking budget grants

November 5, 2022

Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) will seek special and exclusive funds for the conservation of heritage buildings in city and the Mayor will lead a delegation to CM Basavaraj Bommai.

At a meeting convened to discuss the status of the heritage structures at the Old Council Hall in city yesterday, Mayor Shivakumar said, he will take a delegation of elected representatives, heritage experts, engineers and technical experts and apprise the CM of the desperate need to restore dilapidated heritage buildings, many of them that are in a precarious condition.

“The delegation will also seek special allocation of funds annually in the State budget exclusively for the repair and maintenance of heritage buildings. This will ensure that there is no shortage of funds to take up regular works to save the heritage structures,” the Mayor said.

“Mysuru is a Heritage City and the many landmark structures gives the identity to the city and we cannot afford to lose them. A decision will be taken soon to approach the CM for funds. Procuring financial resources to maintain heritage structure is a big challenge and we are approaching the CM to allocate funds in the State budget,” he said.

“In case there is a delay in release of funds by the Government, I will initiate measures with funds from the MCC to save three important structures which are crying for attention. They are the MCC Main Building, Silver Jubilee Clock Tower and the Town Hall. Even the Visvesvaraya Building at K.R. Circle will be taken up,” he said.

Accepting the suggestion by heritage expert and Member of District Heritage Committee Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, he said that a two-day training and a sensitisation session will be conducted for engineers of the MCC on the ways and means to conserve heritage buildings and the measures to be taken not to damage the structures in the process of renovation.

Prof. Rangaraju highlighted that most of the people working in the MCC have little idea about heritage buildings, their composition and building materials like lime mortar and the ways and means to conserve them. The Mayor asked the MCC Superintending Engineer Mahesh to fix a time schedule for the training.

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In his presentation, Prof. Rangaraju told the meeting that various measures have to be taken to conserve the Silver Jubilee Clock Tower located opposite the Town Hall in the heart of the city. “Also known as Dodda Gadiyara, the tower was installed by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1927 after completing 25 years of his rule. It is unfortunate that though many inspections were done and measures were suggested to restore the structure in the past, nothing has been done so far due to paucity of funds,” he explained.

“The Clock Tower needs immediate attention and we had suggested chemical treatment to prevent rodents from damaging the foundation and also to prevent rusting. There is also a need to restore the top portion of the tower due to exposure to vagaries of weather. I also suggest the reconstitution of the Heritage Cell in the MCC as it has become defunct now,” Prof. Rangaraju said.

‘Heritage restoration is not demolition, reconstruction’

In a pep talk to engineers, officers and elected representatives, Prof. N.S. Rangaraju of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)-Mysuru and Member of District Heritage Committee said that restoration of heritage buildings does not mean demolition and reconstruction.

“Many officers and elected representatives do not have any sense of heritage and wherever they find a dilapidated building, they make plans to demolish and reconstruct that structure. This is not conservation and you will be taking heritage out of the Heritage City. Conservation takes a lot of effort and there is a need to allocate a special budget. Repairs must be carried out as per the set norms otherwise it will not be qualified to be a heritage building. For example, all these heritage buildings have been constructed with lime mortar and the same material must be used for conservation. Applying cement or M-Sand violates conservation norms and should be avoided,” he explained.

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“The end-to-end and comprehensive renovation taken up at Government Ayurveda College and Jaganmohan Palace are the best examples for heritage conservation. Mysuru has been declared as Ivory City like Jaipur has been called Pink City. To maintain the Ivory City character, the MCC should ensure that all government and private buildings in the core heritage zone comply with the colour regulations,” Prof. Rangaraju  said.

“Several digital name boards have been installed violating the heritage regulations like in MCC Office, Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), and St. Joseph’s College. These boards should be vacated and a uniform and heritage-style boards must be installed,” he said.

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