BENGALURU : The first step towards preserving the city’s rich heritage has been taken with the Bangalore Development Authority creating 12 Heritage Zones for the first time in its revised Master Plan 2031. The following areas in the city have been proposed as Heritage Zones with the number of sites in the brackets: Central Administrative Zone (38 sites); Pete and Bangalore Fort (37); Gavipuram Basavanagudi and V V Puram (66); M G Road (27) Shivajinagar (12); Cleveland Town (10); Richard’s Town (25); Malleswaram (2); Ulsoor (10); Whitefield Inner Circle (3); Begur Temple (2) and Bangalore Palace (3 sites).
While giving a thumbs up to the move, leading heritage experts said that private property owners whose buildings have been brought under the list need to be offered solid incentives as compensation.
Yashaswini Sharma, one of the collaborators for the project to build a Hoysala style temple in Kolar and author of ‘Bangalore the early City AD 1537 - 1799’, says it is a very good idea to come out with Heritage Zones. However, there needs to be an implementing agency, she feels.
“It is otherwise like a tiger without teeth. For instance, the United States has a Landmarks Law and we need something on similar lines. Without any body to oversee it, how can we ensure it is implemented,” the architect asks. Sharma also stated that private property owners need to be incentivised if their buildings are declared as heritage property.
There are some errors too in the Master Plan, she states. “The Bangalore Palace has been listed as a public building but it is a private property. Also, Kumbriegel Hall and the Old Aquarium do not find place in the heritage list. So, they were already aware that the Hall would be demolished and may be the aquarium would be the next to follow.”
Meera Iyer, co-convenor, INTACH Bengaluru, bills it “a great first step to offer recognition to heritage sites”. She also commended the regulations attached to each zone. “Private property owners need to be offered solid incentives like ‘Heritage TDR’ as is been done in Ahmedabad or very good compensation. Otherwise, the move will not go down well with them.
Meera also bemoaned that a lovely, old stone building like the Malleswaram Girls’ Higher Secondary School did not find place in the heritage list while the Basavanagudi Post Office in the list was converted into a modern building years ago. Historian Arun Prasad feels it is a good move particularly in light of the Bengaluru Urban Arts Commission set up to take care of heritage structures gone now. “Monuments are the tangible soul of the city and need to be preserved at all costs.” Prasad added, “A separate agency needs to be set up to implement all the rules proposed.”