Looks like no mercy for 'Krupalaya'

Heritage building Irani bungalow on verge of demolition, list of structures yet to be notified

future in doldrums: A view of Krupalaya, soon to be declared  heritage structure, in Mysore. DH Photo by Prashant H G

The current owners of Krupalaya, popular among Mysoreans after the 1960s as Irani’s House, situated at No 677, Vasantha Mahal road, Nazarbad, — Sweety Property Developers Private Limited — are planning to demolish the heritage structure and sell the sprawling 44,000 square feet prime property.

The controversy over demolition of R K Narayan’s house by his legal heirs, the state government’s intervention and the move of the Mysore City Corporation to buy it to develop it as a memorial for the writer is still fresh in the minds of the people.

No concrete document is available with the authorities concerned about the exact date of Krupalaya’s construction, formerly known as Kendal’s bungalow. However, according to archival documents of the Maramath department (now public works department) of the then government of the erstwhile Maharaja’s of Mysore, repair works were taken up as early as in 1917. An estimate in this regard for Rs 6,054 signed on February 10, 1917, is available.

High-profile

IAS officer J B Mallaradhya, who served the last Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar as his huzur secretary, who was also a member of the Mysore state legislative Assembly after retirement, stayed in this house from December 15, 1955 to March 3, 1958.

After Mallaradhya vacated the house, Maharajakumari Sri Kamakshi Devi Trust, under the Palace Trusts, which was designated to take possession of the property, filed a case to recover arrears and damages of Rs 4,060.37 from the former huzur secretary after he failed to reply to three notices.

However, the case was settled out of court on October 30, 1960, with a recovery of Rs 2019.31 — Rs 2311.12 was written off, following some clarification from Mallaradhya’s side.

Later, Krupalaya was sold to Farrokh K Irani, who set up Ideal Jawa with Czech collaboration. The company’s business declined with a dip in the sales of its products — Yezdi — losing sheen against fuel-efficient 100 cc Japanese motorbikes in the 1980s. The Iranis, who moved out of the house in later years, made Krupalaya their company guest house.

Qureshi, a Mumbai-based businessman, also a close associate of the Irani family, acquired the property in an auction by Indian Overseas Bank for Rs 2.54 crore in the 1990s.
The list of 236 heritage structures in Mysore city, compiled by the Heritage Committee, which is in the final stages of approval from the state government, includes Krupalaya.

Guidelines

A member of the Heritage Committee, who did not want to be named, said, the government should formulate guidelines to help owners of heritage structures who want to retain them in maintenance — financially. In case the owner wants to sell such structures, the government should acquire them by paying compensation at par with prevailing market prices.

He said Krupalaya is suitable for setting up a heritage park. A training centre on preservation of heritage can be set up, where workshops on the subject could be held. It would help spread awareness among the citizens. Mysooru mallige (jasmine), Mysooru vilyadele (betle leaves), Nanjangud rasabale (plantain), etc unique for Mysore can be grown here, he added.

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