Karnataka government will first acquire the property for the work to start, says Law Minister

Saved from demolition by the Karnataka government's decision to declare it a heritage building, the house that belonged to noted writer R.K. Narayan in Yadavagiri, Mysore, will be restored “at the earliest,” Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar told The Hindu .

Some portions dismantled

The Kannada and Culture Department has been designated the nodal agency in charge of the restoration and maintenance of the house, he said. For the work to start, the government should first acquire the property, the Minister said. While the guidance value of the property is around Rs. 1 crore, the market value is around Rs. 3 crore to 4 crore, according to him. “In the next few days, the Minister for Kannada and Culture and I will take a decision on the matter.” The Minister said he was willing to meet any member of the late writer's family who wished to meet him.

It was on the intervention of the Commissioner of the Mysore City Corporation, K.S. Raykar, that the demolition of the two-storey house was stopped on September 5, but not before workers had already started dismantling the doors and windows, and a part of the roof.

The property had been acquired by a developer. The house was subsequently notified as a heritage building by the government under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act.

“Mysore city itself has over 200 heritage structures,” Mr. Suresh Kumar said.

“Usually, it is the family that makes a representation to us to declare a house of a famous person a heritage building. The homes of Jnanapith award winner Kuvempu in Kuppalli (Shimoga district), and the noted singer Gangubai Hangal in Dharwad are heritage buildings now,” he added.

Source of inspiration

Although the State government has not made plans on what to do with the property once the house is restored, Mr. Suresh Kumar, just back from a trip to England and a visit to Shakespeare's house in Stratford-upon-Avon, said that the importance of heritage preservation was brought home powerfully to him. “I will make RKN's house a source of inspiration to all…and with the flavour of Malgudi.”