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Is Vikasa Soudha heritage site? Experts scoff at BDA's ill-researched choice

DH News Service, Bengaluru, Dec 7 2017, 23:14 IST
Historians are scoffing at the BDA's heritage site list, even as the body defends the list, saying it was prepared in compliance with existing laws.

Historians are scoffing at the BDA's heritage site list, even as the body defends the list, saying it was prepared in compliance with existing laws.

Decision by the Bangalore Development Authority to include Vikasa Soudha and other recently built structures in the list of heritage buildings has left heritage buffs baffled.

Vikasa Soudha is among the 91 structures included in BDA's provisional master plan 2031, which, heritage activists say, has left out several edifices worthy of the heritage tag.

The BDA defended the list saying it has followed the list prepared by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) in 1985.

Historians scoff at the idea of several modern structures such as government buildings like Joint Director of Agriculture Office, Venkataramana Kalyana Mantappa on Palace Road and Office Of The Deputy Superintendent Of Excise on KR Road findings a mention in the list.

"Central Jail, Maharani College and Bannappa Park are more deserving of the (heritage) tag," said an Intach member on condition of anonymity.

"The list exposes the failure to properly study the buildings," historian Arun Prasad said. "Vikasa Soudha (for instance) is a mere replica of Vidhana Soudha. It has no history or identity of its own."

The Government Printing Press was razed in 2000 to build Vikasa Soudha in 2004, Prasad noted, adding that the government should have protected the Government Press building.

Archaeological Survey of India's Superintending Archaeologist-Bangalore circle K Moortheswari pointed out that a structure should be at least 100 years old with some unique architectural traits like designing, style or historical significance.

Buildings can even be 60 years old instead of the mandated 100, but they should have certain uniqueness to qualify as a heritage site, she added.

Historians also note that the Parsi Tomb of Silence on Ballari Road should have been included in the heritage list. Despite high-rise structures dominating the north Bengaluru skyline, the Tomb of Silence stands out as a unique structure.

They complain that the BDA has only included a few residences in the city, while overlooking landmark edifices like Diwan's home named after Diwan Poornaya near Race Course and Patan Bhavan belonging to Diwan Madhav Rao.

Intach Co-Convenor Meera Iyer the Krumbigal Hall, now demolished - and aquarium in Lalbagh gardens should have also found a place in the list.

The Krumbigal Hall was only recently razed after a part of it collapsed in the rains, but the BDA could have included it since it took a year to prepare the master plan and released it in November, she said.

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