BENGALURU: After facing an outcry over covering a Kalyani (temple pond) with a road at Gottigere, officials are mulling other options — one of which involves rebuilding the kalyani at another site.
The kalyani lies right on Bannerghatta Road, beside an Anjaneya Temple and is believed to be over hundred years old. As part of a project by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to widen the road, the kalyani has been nearly filled by soil, in preparation for a road to be laid over it. The road, a state highway, is an important thoroughfare and sees traffic congestions on a daily basis.
On Saturday, a citizen brought the matter to the notice of Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) Mahendra Jain, even as local residents voiced their displeasure at the move. On Monday, Jain visited the kalyani with other BBMP officials.
After inspection of the site on Monday, Jain told The New Indian Express, "I have asked engineers and local residents to discuss and check if the alignment can be slightly modified to save the kalyani, failing which we will rebuild it using the same materials in a nearby BBMP park."
Jain added that re-alignment could be tough as the pond's location is on a bend. In addition, change in alignment would require another temple further down the road to be demolished, he said. Jain also emphasised that as the road was narrow at the point, it was necessary to widen it.
Rebuilding heritage structures is a move not usually advocated by activists. Conservation architect Professor Sathya Prakash Varanashi said unless stakeholders, who in this case would be local residents, raise their voice to protect a structure, development works would be given priority. "Rebuilding it is not the ideal solution, but I am happy it is an option. Rebuilding a structure should not be a pretext used by the government to demolish structures, but should be the last resort," he added.
Jain was accompanied by BBMP Joint Commissioner (Bommanahalli) Veerabhadra Swamy and Chief Engineer (Major Roads) Somashekar, among other officials.