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Construction may stop near city's heritage buildings

Bharath Joshi, Bengaluru, DH News Services, Nov 28 2017, 18:11 IST
Christian Devotees are gathered for the prayer on the occasion of Christmas, in St. Mary's Basilica Church, at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Christian Devotees are gathered for the prayer on the occasion of Christmas, in St. Mary's Basilica Church, at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Construction in the vicinity of Bangalore Palace, Trinity Church, Someshwara Temple and other places may be prohibited, if the BDA has its way.

The Bangalore Development Authority has proposed to declare as 'protected heritage sites' a total of 191 government or public heritage buildings of the 558 it has identified.

These 191 structures are located in the central business district and include the Hudson Memorial Church, St Mary's Basilica and the Crescent House. The CBD is a 27.74-square kilometre area in and around the Vidhana Soudha and the historic Pete areas.

Once a building is given the protected heritage site tag, construction will be prohibited within 100 metres of its boundary, while the contiguous 200 metres will fall under the regulated area, where only an archaeological officer can undertake construction.

At present, only nine heritage sites are protected in Bengaluru - two by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the rest by the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage.

As part of its Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2031 preparation, the BDA has identified 558 heritage sites in Bengaluru, which is the first official inventory of the city's surviving heritage ever since the erstwhile Bangalore Urban Arts Commission had put together a list of 747 heritage sites before disbanding in 2002.

As it turns out, 321 of the 558 heritage sites are in the CBD, which the BDA calls "the heritage core" of the Bengaluru metropolitan area.

For the RMP 2031, the BDA carried out a physical survey for identification of heritage sites and documented them based on spatial location, extent, age, use of building, ownership and classification of heritage.

'Accordingly, the 558 sites have been classified under built heritage value (533), natural heritage value (16) and cultural heritage value (9).

"With rapid commercialisation, there's a dire need to keep heritage structures from further damage," BDA commissioner Rakesh Singh said. The BDA will follow up with the ASI and the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage to protect heritage buildings, he added.

The RMP 2031 also proposes creating a dozen heritage zones in the city: Central Administrative Heritage Zone, Pete & Bengaluru Fort Heritage Zone, Gavipuram, Basavanagudi and VV Puram Heritage Zone, MG Road Heritage Zone, Shivajinagar Heritage Zone, Cleveland Town Heritage Zone, Richards Town Heritage Zone, Malleswaram Heritage Zone, Ulsoor Heritage Zone, Whitefield Inner Circle Heritage Zone, Begur Temple Heritage Zone and Bengaluru Palace Heritage Zone.

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