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Updated: February 17, 2013 02:08 IST

Activists press for nod on heritage act

Special Correspondent
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State government urged to support heritage conservation in city. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
The Hindu State government urged to support heritage conservation in city. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

Heritage lovers have urged the State government to pass the Heritage Act to support heritage conservation in the city.

Addressing the press here on Saturday on the sidelines of a national conference on Indo-Saracenic Heritage of Chennai, historian S. Muthiah said it had been 12 years since the Act was drafted. He pointed out that in 2006, the Justice E. Padmanabhan committee had listed 467 buildings that should not be hidden from view by hoardings due to their importance.

“Letters had been sent to owners of these buildings asking them not to demolish them. Many of the 70-odd buildings recently identified by the Heritage Conservation Committee are among these 467. Unless there is an Act and some kind of support many of these buildings will not survive. There are instances of governments providing support to conservation efforts of even private buildings,” he said.

The Indo-Saracenic architecture represents a synthesis of Islamic, Hindu and Byzantine styles. The buildings under the style were constructed during the Colonial period in Chennai in the late 19 and early 20 centuries.

Founder of Dakshinchitra Deborah Thiagarajan urged the State government to establish a separate conservation wing in the Public Works Department (PWD) under whose control most heritage and government buildings are. “Apart from training, funds must also be provided,” she said.

The Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammad Abdul Ali requested the State to restore the Kalas Mahal which was damaged in a fire over a year ago.

GRK Reddy, CMD, Marg Group and Jaffer AA Khan, director MARG Institute of Design and Architecture, Swarna Bhoomi, were also present on the occasion.

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