The citizens might be congratulating themselves on the implementation of innumerable infrastructure projects. But these projects could be the bane of the city’s historical monuments, with only the remnants standing and to be read only in the ciry’s history books.
City Express visited two such places, Chikkajala Fort and Tipu Palace which faces threats of extinction because of the impact of two projects like the National Highway and the Bangalore Metro Rail projects.
Covering about two acres, the 200-year-old Chikkajala Fort today exists in a dilapidated condition with not even a compound wall. In December 2011, a portion of its land was acquired by National Highway Authority of India for road widening and they also deposited `84 lakh with the taluk office as compensation for the acquired land. But still efforts have not been made to restructure and maintain the heritage site by the authorities.
In fact, there is no proper pathway to enter this place. Moreover, the fort has been transformed into a hub for anti-social elements. The fort also houses a Hanuman temple and the priest of the temple, Ram Sanjivi who has been appointed by the Muzzrai department says, “A few rowdies have made this place their regular adda at night. They drink and smoke all night long.
In fact, some one has deliberately cut the power connection to the temple. If one takes a closer look at the inscriptions in the temple, they clearly indicate its historicity which is post-Vijaynagar period. Why can’t they preserve and maintain such an important historical monument.”
When City Express visited the spot, we found wine bottles, glasses and cigarette butts. Earlier, the fort also used to house a pond (pushkharini) which is now extinct as waste materials have replaced the water in it. It would be not wrong to say that the monument is in a shambles and there are no personnel deputed for its cleaning and maintenance, hence, weeds and garbage surround the fort from all its four sides.
In a few reports, Chikkajala fort has been described as a pre-historic site by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
However, GS Narasimhan, Superintending Archaeologist from Archaeological Survey of India says, “Chikkajala fort does not come under the purview of our department. It is the state government who is responsible for it.”
Ravindran, a resident says, “The authorities have never tried to maintain or promote this site as a tourist attraction. We feel this place could have been transformed into a major attraction for tourists but nobody took interest in it and now it seems quite impossible.”
Tipu's palace: Kalasipalyam has two monuments, the famous Tipu palace and Bangalore Fort. Since July, the Namma Metro work has commenced which is a few meters from Tipu’s Palace and Bangalore fort. The underground tunnelling work has created apprehensions that the underground line passing near Tipu’s Palace and Bangalore Fort in Kalasipalya would damage the structures.
However, GS Narasimhan, Superintending Archaeologist says, “Our staff has been constantly monitoring the impact of Metro work on Tipu Palace. If we witness any damage, we will communicate the matter immediately to the concerned departments.”
With the concerned departments still waiting for any repercussions on the monuments, it is ironical that they are waiting for something to happen and not take preventive measures.