Multiple heritage structure collapses cause concern
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Multiple heritage structure collapses cause concern

October 22, 2022

Authorities look the other way citing fund crunch, lament conservationists

Mysore/Mysuru: Frequent collapse of heritage buildings in Heritage City has caused concern among conservationists, heritage experts and the general public. While a portion of Maharani’s Science College collapsed yesterday, reducing the Chemistry Laboratory and another adjacent room into rubble, a portion of the Mysore Palace Fort collapsed just days ago.

In the recent past, Mysuru has witnessed the collapse of Devaraja Market, Lansdowne Building, Fire Brigade Office and Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion to name a few and many other buildings are in the long line of structures standing precariously even as the Government and the authorities are looking the other way.

While there are over 500 heritage structures in Mysuru, 129 of them have been listed as dangerous and need urgent restoration. 25 among them have been listed under the immediate                              restoration category.

Some of the buildings that need urgent repairs are the DC’s Office, Sanskrit Patashala, Silver Jubilee Clock Tower, Government Guest House, MCC Office, CADA Office, MMC&RI and its hostels. Unfortunately, despite the classification as dangerous, no funds are allocated.

Maharani’s College plight was known

Heritage experts and the Government-appointed District Heritage Committee had alerted the Government about the dilapidated Maharani’s Science College two years ago but nothing was done to restore the buildings, putting students and staff into a dangerous situation. Fortunately, yesterday when the building collapsed, all the students and staff were vacated by the College Principal Dr. D. Ravi and Chemistry Head of the Department Dr. K.K. Padmanabha due to their presence of mind and alertness.

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When the precarious condition of Maharani’s College was brought to the fore, new buildings were constructed by the side of Valmiki Road but the old buildings were neglected. Still, classes continued to be held there with scant regard for the student and staff safety, exposing the callousness of the authorities.

Lack of funds common excuse

The Heritage Committee also recommended MCC to set aside emergency funds to repair 25 heritage buildings. This suggestion was ignored, said Prof. N.S Rangaraju, retired Professor from Dept. of Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Mysore, who is also a Member of Heritage Conservation Committee, Govt. of Karnataka and Convener of INTACH, Mysuru Chapter.

“The main reason cited by the powers that be is fund crunch. Heritage structures need a lot of money for restoration and the authorities have always cited perennial fund shortage. I feel that there is a lack of will to restore the heritage nature of Mysuru city and this has added to the mismanagement. We should have woken up when the Lansdowne Building collapsed and urgent repairs should have been done. But the issue was neglected,” Prof. Rangaraju lamented.

Will call for a meeting soon

While rains have caused extensive damage to the heritage buildings, many of the structures have vegetation sprouting from the walls, crevices and roofs. This further weakens the structures. Unfortunately, the vegetation on the heritage buildings have been left to grow by the building occupants without removing them. The present condition of heritage structures is the result of years of negligence. I will call for a meeting of all stakeholders soon to take stock of the situation and discuss conservation and preservation of old buildings. – Shivakumar, Mayor

Danger for heritage

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In 2012, Lansdowne Building collapsed and four people were killed and the building has been abandoned now. In 2016, the arch and the entrance of Devaraja Market on Dhanvantri Road crashed and except for some superficial works, nothing was done. In 2019, the entrance of the Saraswathipuram Fire Brigade building fell and here too nothing was done. In 2020, the Mysore Medical College Hostel roof caved-in and this too was neglected. In 2021, the ceiling of Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion caved-in at two places and here too, except for some ad-hoc repairs, nothing concrete was done. This year, a portion of the Vani Vilas Market chajja collapsed and also a portion of the Palace Fort crashed. Now, the Chemistry Lab of the Maharani’s Science College has collapsed and here too, there will be no action. – Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, Heritage Expert

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Multiple heritage structure collapses cause concern”

  1. Marigowda Ramanna says:

    Not surprised about thc shambles of neglecting buildings maintenance over the years, while the MCC officials, the district minister, the Karnataka government politicians in power, were all pocketing the money to increase their personal wealth through various activities like Dasara and tourism, while Mysore ‘s iconic structures were collapsing.
    Where is that idiot MP Simha, who is quick to seek attention with useless initiatives?
    Not all the buildings listed above are iconic. Of them, the Sanskrit Patashala, the Silver Jubilee clock Tower and Mysore Palace Fort are really heritage structures. Maharani’s college laboratory needs Focus only on these three, and make the funding issue a general election issue by the opposition parties.
    The rest like the Lansdowne building and Devaraja market fell into repair because the shops there economically priced themselves out. Not worth saving.

  2. Marigowda Ramanna says:

    Not surprised about thc shambles of neglecting buildings maintenance over the years, while the MCC officials, the district minister, the Karnataka government politicians in power, were all pocketing the money to increase their personal wealth through various activities like Dasara and tourism, while Mysore ‘s iconic structures were collapsing.
    Where is that idiot MP Simha, who is quick to seek attention with useless initiatives?
    Not all the buildings listed above are iconic. Of them, the Sanskrit Patashala, the Silver Jubilee clock Tower and Mysore Palace Fort are really heritage structures. Maharani’s college laboratory needs Focus only on these three, and make the funding issue a general election issue by the opposition parties.
    The rest like the Lansdowne building and Devaraja market fell into repair because the shops there economically priced themselves out. Not worth saving.

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