MYSORE: The 225-year-old Tipu Sultan’s armoury, that has come in the way of the Mysore-Bangalore railway doubling project, is likely to be lifted as one unit and moved 200 metres away at the earliest. This could be the first such attempt at moving a heritage structure in the country. The Railways, which has assigned Institute of Engineers, Bangalore Chapter, as a consultant, may call global tenders inviting agencies involved in bodily moving structures or houses.
Though such an exercise has not been undertaken in India, there are a few agencies in the US, Switzerland, Australia and Canada that have moved churches and houses.
However, moving this two-century-old structure could be tricky.
The brick and lime armoury, which is 150 metres wide with walls up to 1.5 metres thick, weighs around 1,200 tonnes and is embedded 10 feet in the ground.
The Railways abandoned the idea of acquiring land adjacent to the armoury owing to the prohibitive price the land owner was entitled to. The Railways is awaiting a report on the methodologies and technology to ensure safety of the structure from the Institute of Engineers in a couple of days after which it will invite tenders for the relocation.
The doubling work has been delayed since the project involved multiple agencies like the Railways, State Archaeology Department and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
In 2010, the ASI stepped in and suggested moving the armoury 200 metres away. However, the Railways approached the Infrastructure Development Department and Kannada and Culture Department and decided to consult various agencies in the interest and sentiments of the people.
With the alignment uncertain, work on the girder work for bridges across the Cauvery near Srirangapatna railway station has also been affected. However, senior Railway officials (on condition of anonymity) said that the armoury will be shifted within seven months.
The ASI is closely watching this project so that it can take up similar assignments elsewhere.