The century-old Kurupam Market is in a state of ruin, and if urgent steps are not taken for its scientific restoration, the architectural marvel may be lost forever.

The tiled roof of the central structure has collapsed partially. The cementing material has fallen at some places, exposing the bricks in the walls.

The market was donated by Raja Vyricherla Veerabhadra Raju of Kurupam to the then Vizagapatam Municipality on September 1, 1914, to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII.

The objective was to generate income for the municipality to fund developmental activities and to take up health and education projects in Visakhapatnam.

It was decided that the Raja of Kurupam was to be the hereditary trustee (without any remuneration) and 10 per cent of the profit was to be used for development of Kurupam.

However, the Hindu Religious and Endowment Trust took over the market from the municipality through a legislation passed in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly during the 1960 s.

Purpose defeated: Deo

Subsequently, Raja Vyricherla Kishore Chandra Deo, the great grandson of Raja Veerabhadra Raju, wrote many letters to the then district Collector and the Trust on the issue but his letters were not even acknowledged.

Mr. Deo, who is at present Union Minister for Tribal Welfare and Panchayat Raj, wonders how a non-religious gift was taken over by the Hindu endowment board. He feels that the prime objective of the donation – to generate income for the civic body and thereby fund programmes for the poor – has been lost.

“Though we have put up warning boards and tied barbed wire around the central structure, the vegetable vendors continue to occupy the area ignoring the risks involved,” says Administrative Officer P. Jagan Mohan.

“The matter has been taken to the notice of the Divisional Engineer of the Endowments Department in Kakinada and he is expected to take a decision on restoration of the market,” he added.

“We (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) have sought the development of the market on the lines of the Dilli HAAT project or Shilparamam,” says its convener Rani Sarma.

“On our part, we have taken schoolchildren in batches on heritage walks to the Town Hall during the last three years to focus attention on protection of heritage structures,” she says.

The Endowments Department, which has its hands full in the management of money spinning temples, seems to have no time to think of the market.

One can only hope that it isn't too late before the authorities concerned take a decision on the issue.

Keywords: Kurupam Market

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