The Heritage Conservation Committee of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority on Tuesday constituted a six-member sub-committee to measure the heritage value of the Bharat Insurance building on Anna Salai.

The sub-committee will also study the feasibility of retaining the whole or part of the structure. This is pursuant to a Madras High Court directive.

The sub-committee will submit its report in three weeks to the Heritage Conservation Committee for appropriate recommendations, CMDA Chairperson Susan Mathew told The Hindu.

The Madras High Court recently restrained Life Insurance Corporation of India, the owner, from demolishing the building without complying with regulation 22 of the Development Control Rules for Chennai Metropolitan Area, 2004.

It directed the Heritage Conservation Committee to assess the value and feasibility of retaining the building, stressing the need for saving the building. The CMDA and the Chennai Corporation, in consultation of the Committee, would issue directions for the protection of the building.

The High Court also directed the State government to take up listing and enumeration of similar heritage buildings that have been listed in the report filed by Justice E. Padmanabhan Committee.

The Bharat Insurance building on Anna Salai is an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Construction of the building began in 1894 and it was inaugurated in 1897. As the building became dilapidated, LIC initiated the process of eviction of tenants in 1998 on the grounds that it was unsafe for occupation.

The HCC has also initiated the process of assessment of the heritage value of other buildings in the Chennai Metropolitan Area, a CMDA official said.


Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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