Heritage Committee opposes demolition of Lansdowne Building, Devaraja Market

Mysuru: The Government-constituted Heritage Committee has opposed the demolition of Lansdowne Building and the Devaraja Market. Instead, it will recommend the end-to-end restoration of both the structures so that they can last for another 50 years or so.

Interestingly, the Task Force constituted to ascertain the lifespan and feasibility of the conservation of the structures has recommended the demolition of the structures as they are dilapidated and pose a risk for human life and limb.

The Task Force had recommended the demolition and reconstruction of Lansdowne Building and the Devaraja Market, maintaining the original façade. This recommendation was placed before the Heritage Committee meeting held at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office recently where the Committee members opposed the demolition and opined that the heritage structures could be conserved.

The Task Force was constituted following the collapse of the Lansdowne Building in August 2012 in which four persons died while a portion of Devaraja Market came crashing down in 2016. [See pics]

Following stiff opposition to the demolition, the meeting decided that the Heritage Committee members must visit both the sites along with senior engineers from Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and submit a report to the Deputy Commissioner, who is the Chairman of the Committee.

Accordingly, the team comprising Maj. Gen. (retd.) Sudhir G. Vombatkere, N.R. Ashok, Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, and some engineers from the MCC visited the structures on Feb. 22.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, Vombatkere said that the constitution of the Task Force itself was faulty as it lacked members from the Heritage Committee. “Our names were just included in the Task Force and we were not consulted. Surprisingly, the Task Force communication said that we (Heritage Committee) have agreed for the demolition of Lansdowne Building and the Devaraja Market which is not true. It is complete falsehood,” he said. “Moreover, we are the members of a Government-constituted Committee and not the members of a private body,” he added.

“Seven years ago, we had told the MCC to restore the two heritage structures. Unfortunately, it deliberately ignored our pleas. Take for example centuries-old Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion inside Manasagangothri and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Bungalow near Fire Brigade, Saraswathipuram. These buildings have been restored and have gained their past glory,” he added.

Reacting to the developments, Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep said that the Task Force had recommended demolition and the process was underway. “The Task Force has studied the structure in detail and has recommended demolition. Accordingly, we have submitted a proposal to the government. The funding for demolition and reconstruction has been approved including the planning and nature of construction. We are prepared for the demolition and we will decide in the next meeting of the Heritage Committee,” he said.

“The Task Force demolition proposal was recently placed before the Heritage Committee as a formality. The Committee must submit a report to the Chairman,” he said expressing his reservations about the Committee going to the media.

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