Has Mysuru gone Bengaluru way?—7: Mysuru is already on Bengaluru way
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Has Mysuru gone Bengaluru way?—7: Mysuru is already on Bengaluru way

January 27, 2022

By R. Chandra Prakash

For the past forty-four years Star of Mysore has been keeping its readers abreast with every important event in Mysuru. Hence, a discerning reader can judge whether this iconic city has indeed gone Bengaluru way. However, for the sake of common convenience and to substantiate the hypothesis that  Mysuru has ‘already gone Bengaluru way’, a brief analysis of the events is provided in this concluding part.

Neglected Heritage

On  16th  December 2021,  Star of Mysore carried a news headline titled “No end in sight on fate of Devaraja Market” and  another headline on the very next day, 17th December 2021,  “Over 9 years after tragedy, the fate of Lansdowne building still remains in suspense.” City is not surprised because such news items about other iconic buildings being damaged or under precarious conditions  keep appearing so very often. The  Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion (Manasagangothri), Motikhana Building, Old Palace Office buildings, Manoranjana Mahal, Rajendra Vilas Palace, Lalitha Mahal, Summer Palace, Attarakacheri building, Vani Vilasa Market building, Silver Jubilee Clock Tower, Gun House, Palace Horse Stable, Royal Burial Grounds and even the city’s main Palace are in some state of  despair.

Few iconic buildings like Palace Motor Garage, Chamundi Vihar Palace, several chateau-like houses on Lalitha Mahal road, Aane Karoti, sprawling Ele Thota or enchanting boulevards like Thandi Sadak or Lalitha Mahal road, Tipu’s Palace on 100 feet road have all simply disappeared. Hardinge Circle has lost its iconic fountain.

Change is the rule of life. But change need not be at the cost of the heritage. It should be change with heritage. The heritage Parliament building will co-exist with  the new Vista Complex.

Ironically, Mysuru has a Heritage Department with a Commissioner-level officer. But its functioning is not in public domain.

Damaged by Development

Several developmental projects have been executed in Mysuru during the past decades. Instead of developing, some of them have caused immense damage:

1. Makkaji Chowk: The heart of commercial activities of bygone era Makkaji Chowk  is  in total ruins. The Road linking  Makkaji Chowk with Sayyaji Rao road is closed and the entire area is leased out to a private company for total re-development. MCC is incurring huge revenue loss to due to this blunder.

2. Town Hall: The iconic Town Hall has been fully devastated. Even after nearly ten years the multi-storey parking facility is ‘under construction’ and entire adjoining open field remains dug up resembling an ASI excavation. When this proposal was announced, a delegation consisting of this writer, eminent professionals such as Bapu Satyanarayana, Dr. S.G. Vombatkere and a few others had made spot inspection along with MCC officials and had expressed our serious concerns. Their assurances that the overall environs of the historic Town Hall will  not be tampered with  have proved to be false.

3. Raja Marga: It was a highly eulogised project to transform the city centre into Singapore! Even before the work got completed, the structures started to fall apart, tiles on the footpath peeled out, drainage covers collapsed and the contractor simply refused to complete the project.  Today, Raja Marga and Makkaji Chowk projects are classic example of ham-handed project planning, wanton disregard for quality in public works and total lack of accountability of officers.

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4. Road Widening: Repeated road widening, particularly within the heart of city, have reduced wide footpaths and road side trees have gone missing. In cases like Irwin road, it has totally changed the entire environs. Residential streets have become commercial streets. However, the experience world has been that road-widening to accommodate unending demand from automobiles is fully counter-productive. And despite repeated ‘improvements’ city roads are full of  potholes.

5. Re-modelled City Bus Stand: The report on Transport and Traffic of Mysuru had recommended for shifting of KSRTC’s City Bus Stand from K.R. Circle out of the city centre. Yet it is  modernised and a bigger bus station has been developed at the same place! Consequently, today the traffic in city centre is chaotic.

6. Drinking Water Supply: JUSCO, a TATA company which had undertaken the rejuvenation of old drinking water supply network in more than half of the city got embroiled in legal dispute with MCC and left. TATAs are known for absolute honesty in business. Hence, reasons to suspect some foul play.

7. Abandoned Projects: Many projects have been undertaken at huge costs but abandoned. One example is the Solar Electric Panels put up in Cheluvamba Park at huge costs, promising total delinking from the electricity grid,  huge savings to MCC. But within a couple of months system became non-operational and since lying in waste. MCC continues to shell out larger electricity bills. Twice water-harvesting system was introduced at huge costs in this park, but very soon totally non-functional. Park continues to suffer severe water shortage.

8. Chamundi Hill: Rs. 80 crore development projects at Chamundi Hill has endangered its ecological and spiritual sustainability. Now, there is clamour for getting more funds for further development! Even Goddess Chamundi, the patron deity of city, is helpless.

Polluted Lakes, Vanishing Vacant Spaces and Encroached Parks

Limited number of lakes remaining in and around the city, such as Karanji, Kukkarahalli, Lingambudhi, Thippayyanakere are severely polluted and  their boundaries shrunk. Encroached Raja Kaluves are choking flow of fresh rain water, sewage lines of residential areas are illegally lead into them.

Vast vacant open spaces, unique to this city, have been occupied by new multiple massive buildings, depriving the city of its lung space.  Town Hall, Kukkarahalli back waters lands on Valmiki road, open space behind the Government Guest House and P.K. Sanatorium are a few examples.

Parks are encroached, large buildings are built in them violating the laws. Their areas are getting reduced due to unscientific road expansions. Most of them are not maintained and are in precarious condition. People’s Park is one glaring example.

Lost Cleanest City Tag

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 Solid Waste Management is in doldrums. Construction debris is lying every where for want of a clear policy. So-called storm water drains have become the carriers of sewage water which are led to open spaces or lakes.  Consequently, the city is unable to regain its respectable position in the national Clean City survey.

Rural Clusters and Slums

Despite being a well-planned city, certain clusters have remained much unchanged within the city. Instead of these getting fully merged with the city, more and more such clusters are getting  added. There are many such highly congested places within well-planned residential layouts. Despite building many building complexes to relocate slums, newer slums are emerging all round the city.

One can write volumes to prove how Mysuru has lost its heritage and grandeur. But above examples are good enough for substantiating the hypothesis. Past was bad enough, future  is staring at bigger challenges.

Challenges Ahead

 Between 1970 and 2000, city’s economy got a big boost due to Railway gauge conversion, track doubling and electrification between Mysuru and Bengaluru. Very soon the completion of Bengaluru-Mysuru 10-lane Economic Corridor will reduce journey time from 180-plus minutes to mere 90 minutes, opening up unprecedented economic boons to Mysuru.

 However, already the ownerships of thousands of hectares of lands within the city limits are in legal tangles. MCC has long back stopped issuing Completion Reports [CRs] for (un)known reasons. Now it is planning to issue B-Khata. This will further endanger ownership rights. MUDA has approved thousands of private layouts all round the city. They lack proper sewage and solid waste disposal systems, clean drinking water supply and are not properly linked with roads among themselves. Bengaluru-like urban disaster is awaiting.

Jurisdictional conflicts/rivalry between bodies such as MCC, MUDA and Village Panchayats have been damaging the growth direction of the city. Chamundi Hill Village Panchayat is a good example. But, very recently the Government has created a few autonomous civic bodies  [four Town Panchayats  (TPs) – Bogadi, Srirampura, Kadakola and Ramanahalli;   and one Hinkal City Municipal Council (CMC)] adjoining the city boundaries  for ‘upgrading the infrastructure of new areas without burdening the MCC’.

In conclusion, things are replicating Bengaluru way in every direction. 

Attributes of Old Mysore

  • Greetings with  query “Hegiddiri?” “Enu Samachara?”
  • Greetings with a  query “Oota Aayitha? Thindi Aayitha? Coffee Aayitha?”
  • Early Morning Entrance Watering and Rangoli Decoration
  • Mallige Moggu Jade [flowered plait] for the young girls and photo sessions
  • Pagade Mane, Kavade Aata, Gilli Daandu, Kite flying, Goli Aata, Kabbina tundu
  • Tuesday, Friday early morning Chamundi Hill step-climbing  
  • Listening to evening Radio News in parks  with  “Bisi-Bisi Kadale-Kaayi [ground nuts] and Bella [jaggery]”
  • Mysore Mallige
  • Mysore Silk
  • Mysore Pak
  • Mysore Bonda
  • One-by-Two, Two-by-Three Coffee / Tea !!

4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Has Mysuru gone Bengaluru way?—7: Mysuru is already on Bengaluru way”

  1. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    The author, a member of that demented crowd of retirees aptly named ‘Mysore Grahachara Parishad’ as one poster put it in an earlier post, were the very part of the massive crowd of people who arrived to settle in Mysuru in 1980s, triggering the deforestation at the old boundaries of the city.
    Even before the arrival of Mr Ganapathy and the establishment of the SOM, the metre gauge rail link between Bengalutu and Mysuru, and narrow road between the two cities, were enough to flood the city with massive numbers of people, running away from Bengaluru!

    Mysuru was well and truly on the way like Bengaluru by the late 1970s itself!

    There is no need to list those 8 items and the lament of the destruction of the city in every way possible, NOW, as all of them happened 4 decades ago.

    Finally, a suggestion for the author and the editor of the SOM. Get ready a draft of the series of articles intended so that they are looked at for repetition, factual incorrectness the cohesiveness, and more importantly ensuring that the title of an article in the series reflects its content. That is good journalism.

  2. Gautam says:

    The renovation and reconstruction issues of Devaraja Market and Lansdowne building among other buildings raise their ugly heads again, particularly concerning these 2 dilapidated and abandoned buildings.

    The author, to my understanding is a retired professor of commerce from a local college, and yet has failed to recognise the main reason why these 2 buildings withered away-the commercial viability.

    The Lansdowne building consisted of match-box size spaces for shops hosing such disparate businesses like a second hand book store, a tailor shop, a soft drink shop etc.. These shops paces were appropriate for a 1950 Mysuru a small and compact friendly city. The late 1950s saw expansion of the population particularly the student population, as the Mysore University and its constituent colleges were expanding fast and people started even then to desert Bengaluru. The matchbox size shops were grappling with the demands, and had to move out to larger spaces. Even the job typists renting the front of the shops disappeared. The building was abandoned because of commercial viability.

    Now,the case of Devaraja Market. It had a byzantine practice of lease and renting with traces of the original lessees lost totally. Again the emergence of local markets like the Nanjumalige fresh fruits and vegetables stalls by the farmers in the nearby villages bringing the fresh produce every day and selling them at a fraction of prices of those rotting equivalents sold in the Davaraja Market shops with the hefty overheads. DevaraJa Market looked not a central market, but a very distant market for those who built their houses in new extensions of the city. There too local markets sprung up in a manner similar to the above Nanjumalige Market. Devaraja Market withered away as the business there was not commercially viable.
    The hesitation for the MCC and the state government to put in renovation and reconstruction initiatives for the above2edifices, despite Bommai’s reassurance when he visited the city, which I am sure,he has forgotten already-he would have rather released the funds for his North Karnataka horrid arid cities which are full of his Linagayat brethren, is because of what to do with these renovated edifices, which were unfit for usage 40 years ago, as explained above.

    The MGP, the outfit which often talks nonsense,and which has members who suffer from periodic hallucinations can be easily ignored. One of the members had a barmy idea of developing Devaraja market along the lines of the centuries old Grand Bazzar of Isambul,forgetting perhaps because of one such hallucinations descending on him that Istambul is at the East -West junction of Europe and Asia and that the city is a massive place of international tourism. Not even the Russell Market in Bengaluru can dream of becoming a similar Grand Bazzar.

    Perhaps when the Kerala-Mysuru rail and road links get implemented, and the city is flooded with the Keralite gold smugglers from the Gulf States, who also want to launder their ill-gotten money through fake designer goods outfits similar to what they have in the Gulf States, may have interest in the spaces occupied by Devaraja market ,Lansdowne building and other buildings listed!
    Using the American slang,the city will then be totally screwed!!

  3. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    he author, a member of that demented crowd of retirees aptly named ‘Mysore Grahachara Parishad’ as one poster put it in an earlier post, were the very part of the massive crowd of people who arrived to settle in Mysuru in 1980s, triggering the deforestation at the old boundaries of the city.

    Even before the arrival of Mr Ganapathy and the establishment of the SOM, the metre gauge rail link between Bengalutu and Mysuru, and narrow road between the two cities, were enough to flood the city with massive numbers of people, running away from Bengaluru!

    Mysuru was well and truly on the way like Bengaluru by the late 1970s itself!

    There is no need to list those 8 items and the lament of the destruction of the city in every way possible, NOW, as all of them happened 4 decades ago.

    Finally, a suggestion for the author and the editor of the SOM. Get ready a draft of the series of articles intended so that they are looked at for repetition, factual incorrectness the cohesiveness, and more importantly ensuring that the title of an article in the series reflects its content. That is good journalism.

  4. Captain Jack Sparrow says:

    Correction: The author…

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