We will lose Heritage City tag, warns expert
Mysuru: The Mysuru City Corporation’s (MCC) move to recommend the pulling down of the iconic Lansdowne Building and Devaraja Market has met with severe opposition from various quarters. The MCC has resolved to reconstruct commercial complexes after demolition and has decided to write to the State Government seeking its nod for demolition.
While concerned citizen experts who campaign for preservation of heritage buildings has written to Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, against the proposed demolition, heritage experts have warned that Mysuru will lose the ‘Heritage City’ sobriquet if the heritage structures are demolished. Today it is Devaraja Market and Lansdowne Building and tomorrow it will be some other heritage building, they argue.
Citizens said that the grounds of ‘safety’ under which the demolitions are to be undertaken are flimsy and the Corporation has not yet realised the heritage value of such buildings. Heritage experts, angry by the MCC move, have urged the Deputy Commissioner, who is also the Chairman of the Mysuru District Heritage Committee to call an urgent meeting before the MCC writes to the government.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, N.S. Rangaraju, retired professor of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, and one of the Heritage Committee members, said the MCC Council’s decision was shocking and was illogical.
“The Heritage Committee had submitted a report that recommended restoration of Lansdowne Building and the Devaraja Market. We have experts, who have years of experience, in the Committee and the MCC’s decision of demolition is wrong. Structures like Gol Gumbaz in Vijayapura and Lotus Mahal in Hampi have been restored and the structures date back to 500 years. When those structures can survive with restoration, Lansdowne Building and the Devaraja Market too can sustain,” he said.
Flaying the MCC move, Prof. Rangaraju said that the MCC was not looking at the heritage value but was focussing only on commercial aspects and generating revenue. “Our Committee is in favour of restoration but ultimately, the decision has been taken by the Councillors who do not have any idea or interest in conserving heritage structures. If the Heritage Committee’s views are ignored without even a serious discussion, then why do we have such a Committee,” he asked.
“There are at least 235 buildings in Mysuru which have been documented and classified as heritage structures in view of their historicity and architectural style. Unfortunately, the MCC lacks heritage guidelines to protect these structures,” Prof. Rangaraju added.
The MCC has gone against the recommendations of the Heritage Committee and has decided to demolish the iconic structures. “Tomorrow the MCC will recommend the demolition of more heritage buildings. Then our city will lose the Heritage City Tag,” he warned.