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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Citizens flag rapid decline of Bengaluru’s heritage buildings – Mrit News

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Activists say in the last two decades, there were many heritage buildings demolished by the government itself, instead of protecting them

Activists say in the last two decades, there were many heritage buildings demolished by the government itself, instead of protecting them

As the renovated, heritage University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) buildings were inaugurated on Thursday, much to the delight of heritage enthusiasts, old Bengalureans and college alumni, it threw the spotlight on the rapidly declining heritage properties in the city.

Talking to The Hindu, Convenor, INTAC,  Meera Iyer said, “We need government intervention in this. On the one hand, the government notified the Zoning Regulations (Amendment) Act, 2020 in April 2020. We have been asking the government to set up the Bangalore Urban Arts Commission as mentioned in the regulations, but so far, this has not happened.”

As per the draft Revised Master plan drawn up by the Bangalore Development Authority, there were over 500 heritage structures in the city, including government buildings, institutions and private properties.

“There needs to be an environment that celebrates and supports heritage. If you look at other cities like Puducherry, the government there has been very supportive of heritage, both government-owned and private, enabling their conservation in different ways, both financially and otherwise. As a result, many people want to preserve their heritage homes. There is also an economic angle to this because in Puducherry, property value of heritage properties has increased. Our government should take a leaf out of Puducherry’s book and start supporting heritage,“ Ms. Iyer said.

Heritage activists said in the last two decades, there were many heritage buildings demolished by the government itself, instead of protecting them. Last year, a 138-year-old building on Ibrahim Sahib Street in Shivajinagar was razed by the BBMP, as it was found to be unsafe. Recently, the Empire Theatre building on MG road, also made way for a new structure.

But there are still some people who love their heritage buildings and are trying to protect them. SVS Subramanya Gupta inherited his heritage house from his father, built in 1931. He is committed to maintaining it and retaining its original features and charms. He said, “ We are proud of this property, My father built this building with the help of a British architect. We restored this house piece by piece. But the heritage looks the same it was.”

Priya Chetty Rajgopal, one of the founders of Heritage Beku, said, “There are three ways to how the government can approach this issue: policy, information and implementation. Involve more young people and give them proper information about heritage, what we have in the city. You cannot save, what you don’t know and you can not love what you don’t know. The heritage of Bengaluru has crumbled because we don’t know about it. Like khadi has become more fashionable nowadays, this does not happen in a day. A lot of effort and practice makes khadi special. As much as people will know about heritage and its history, they will also come forward to save heritage and for that, the government needs to take proper initiative.”


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