Monumental neglect of City's heritage

Govt sleeps over ABIDe report on new policy for conservation of historic structures

It has been more than a year since the report on a heritage policy for the City was submitted by the Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development (ABIDe) Task Force to the State government. However, there has been no progress on this front so far.

ABIDe member Ashwin Mahesh and architect Sanjay Sridhar had co-authored ABIDe’s proposal.

The Task Force, in its Plan Bengaluru 2020, had proposed a Heritage Commission and a policy for the Bangalore Metropolitan Region to preserve many historic monuments in the City which are not under the purview of the State Archaeology Department or the Archaeological Survey of India. The policy envisages a pilot project to declare certain areas around the City’s first fort built by Bangalore founder Kempegowda in KR Market as a heritage zone.  

Speaking to Deccan Herald, architect and managing partner of Venkataramanan Associates, V Naresh Narasimhan, said the increasing number of advertisement hoardings and billboards were not just defacing the City, but also hiding its history and cultural richness. Delay in approving the heritage policy will worsen the situation. Many monuments and historical spaces were already losing their identity, he said. Narasimhan said with Bangalore set for another revision of the Comprehensive Development Plan, it is high time that heritage related issues are kept in mind by the authorities.

Dhanaraj Y, another architect, said infrastructure projects and road widening were being taken up in many areas in the City which were once known for their heritage value. In the absence of a heritage policy, there is no way one can tackle this “modern war” on our rich history, he said.  

Recommendations

A Bengaluru Heritage Commission (BHC) should be statutorily established, and its members should have a fixed term of five years. Members shall be drawn from the domains of expertise suitable for identification, protection and conservation of heritage

The secretariat of the BHC shall be in the Urban Development Department. Its office shall be housed in a heritage building (example Krishna Rao Park, Basavanagudi)
The BHC shall oversee heritage conservation efforts at all locations in the Bangalore Metropolitan Region that are not in the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India or the State Archaeology Department; BHC shall also assist these bodies in their independent efforts

It shall develop and maintain a registry of heritage sites in the metropolitan region, to be known as the Bengaluru Heritage Register

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