A timely intervention on the part of Minister for Tourism and Culture Bina Kak seemingly has stopped the damage which could have come to one of the old landmarks of the Pink City—the former Mayo Hospital building, which is now the Zanana Hospital at Sanganeri Gate. The hospital authorities, seemingly taking into account the ever-growing pressure from patients, wanted to have a portion of it demolished and rebuilt.
“Architecturally it is one of the finest examples of gothic /Indo Saracenic style and was to complement the Albert Hall building. There is no other finer piece of structure than this in the whole of Rajasthan,” Ms. Kak, shocked over the move, wrote to Rajasthan’s Health Minister Imaduddin Ahmed.
“The construction of the structure was started by former Jaipur ruler Ram Singh to honour Lord Mayo, the Governor General of India. Later on his successor Maharaja Madho Singh II completed the building and a plaque testifying this still stands,” historian Chandramani Singh revealed. Both Lord Mayo and Maharaja Ram Singh were good friends, she pointed out. The structure came up after Albert Hall, the central piece of Ramniwas Garden of which construction was started in 1876 and was completed in 1886, she said.
Ms. Kak said her department at one time was planning to declare the Zanana Hospital building—built during 1912-13—as a protected monument. “Any damage to it through demolition, even in parts, would irreparably damage the cause of conservation and show the Government in poor light,” she noted.
Ms. Kak, who held consultations with the officials in the Department of Art and Culture said the expert opinion was “absolutely opposed” to any kind of changes in the building. “It would not be desirable even to consider demolishing the building. If need be a new building in the same style could be constructed in the compound of the existing Zanana Hospital,” she suggested.
“My latest information is that they have dropped the idea. There was a meeting of the concerned officials on Thursday which decided not to proceed with the demolition plan,” a much relieved Ms.Kak said.
When contacted the Medical Department authorities denied that there had been any such move but said only the quarters occupied by the doctors were under the consideration of the Jaipur Development Authority for rebuilding. “There is surely some communication gap. There had been no proposal to demolish the whole building,” a senior functionary of the Health Department asserted.