Mysore/Mysuru: Call it inordinate delay or procrastination, the decision to restore or demolish the nearly 120-year-old heritage structures — Devaraja Market and Lansdowne building — in the heart of the city is back in focus again and this time it is before S.T. Somashekar, who assumed charge as the new Mysuru District Minister over a month ago.
At a review meeting held on the development works of Chamaraja Constituency at Zilla Panchayat Hall in city yesterday, MLA L. Nagendra urged the Minister to get funds from the Government to demolish the dilapidated Devaraja Market and the Lansdowne Building and rebuild them in a traditional way keeping in mind all the heritage aesthetics.
“There are 54 shops in Lansdowne Building and a portion of the structure fell and lives have been lost. The building now stands desolate and it is like a black mark on the city’s heritage character. It is unfit for repairs and all the vendors have been moved to make-shift structures lined up by the side of the building. We need Rs. 30 crore to demolish and re-build the structure,” he said.
On Devaraja Market, the MLA said even this structure is dilapidated and a portion had collapsed. “We need Rs. 80 crore to reconstruct Devaraja Market. The issue is long-pending one and has been in the news since years. When Siddharamaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy were running the Government, they had personally taken interest and visited the Devaraja Market and the Lansdowne Building. But nothing moved,” he said.
Drawing the Minister’s attention on the pro-and anti-demolition of both the structures, Nagendra said that the issue has been dragging on for too long despite many attempts. “There has to be some conclusion as some of the vendors of Devaraja Market are opposing demolition while some are for it. I urge you to visit the structures and take a suitable decision without any more delay,” the MLA urged.
Welcoming the Mysuru City Corporation’s (MCC) move to begin online system of tax payment, Nagendra said that the MCC levies a three-fold penalty if the tax-payers do not have CR (Completion Report). “When a tax-payer comes to the counter to pay tax, the MCC officers insist on CRs and if the tax payer does not produce it, a three-fold penalty is levied. No other Corporation except the MCC levies such a steep penalty. This deters many from paying taxes,” Nagendra said urging the MCC to reduce the penalty.
Responding to the MLA, Minister Somashekar said that he will discuss the issues in the Government level. “Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj will again arrive in Mysuru in another three to four days and most of the issues raised here comes under his Ministry. We will sit together and take a decision,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar, MCC Commissioner Gurudatta Hegde, MUDA Commissioner Dr. D.B. Natesh and others were present at the meeting.