BENGALURU: When talks about razing a block of the Vani Vilas Hospital was doing the rounds a few days back, architects, historians and citizens alike were greatly shocked at even the thought of such a decision. In another case, the sudden demolition of the century-old Krumbiegel Hall in Lalbagh last year also led to a great outpouring of anger against the apathetic attitude of authorities to heritage structures.
Citizens in the city are now rallying behind the ‘Heritage Beku Past Forward’ initiative that aims to prevent such historically significant structures from being demolished or harmed and act before its too late, through citizens partnership.
Started by a group of individuals who led the Flyover Beda campaign, they have now set themselves a task to get a number of measures for the purpose of protection of such structures under the Revised Master Plan-2031. Speaking with CE, Priya Chetty Rajagopal who was one of the main persons to lead the Flyover Beda campaign, says. “We do not want preservation of the city’s history and heritage to be the domain of only experts, politicians, and bureaucrats. The public need to have an equal say.”
She further adds, “We are in doubt glad that preserving heritage structures in the city has come a long way from being a one-page document in the RMP -2015 to something that the government has devoted 30 pages to in the RMP-2031. This is a great step forward. However, there are still a number of concerns that need to be addressed and we will try and do this.”
Priya says the teams’s immediate concern is to include a total of nine points ranging from properly defining the word heritage in the document to setting up proper legal frameworks under which preservation can be achieved. “Another concern we would like to raise is the list of heritage structures. We think that there are many more structures and sites that need to be included,” adds Priya.
The core members of the team include Bengalureans such as urban governance expert, V Ravichander, theatre and movie actor, Prakash Belwadi, architect Naresh Narasimhan and Deepti Surendran, a designer. A panel meeting will take place by the end of the month to discuss such issues relating to the RMP-2031, says Priya who is also trying to recruit citizens for the initiative.
Workshops witH British Experts
The team also plans to organise workshops on preserving heritage with experts from a country like UK who according to Priya have a great track record in preserving their age-old structures and monuments. “We plan on crowdsourcing wisdom for heritage in order to democratise it,” adds Priya