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Government sits on town planning act amendment

Sharath S. Srivatsa
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ALL TALK, NO ACTION:Initially, everybody was fired up over INTACH's proposal to declare Gavipuram, which has the famous cave temple of Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, as a heritage zone ora ward. But nothing has happened since then.— FILE Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
ALL TALK, NO ACTION:Initially, everybody was fired up over INTACH's proposal to declare Gavipuram, which has the famous cave temple of Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, as a heritage zone ora ward. But nothing has happened since then.— FILE Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

The city, which lost several heritage structures in the last two decades of frenzied development, could be losing out on opportunities to protect the remaining ones for posterity. For, decisions on several proposals that came from heritage conservation groups are hanging fire.

Amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act, the open air heritage park around the Bull Temple at the Bugle Rock Park, and suggestions to declare Gavipuram area as a heritage zone — all proposed recently — are yet to be taken seriously.

Great planning

Enormous work went into planning the Open Air Heritage Park, which was to introduce Bangalore's heritage to both locals and tourists. Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) members worked with the Muzrai Department to conceive the park, which would have had relics, kuteers (pavilions) to give a glimpse of Bangalore's history and heritage to visitors in about two hours.

“Extensive proposals were made after several meetings with the officials. [In the end, they were] put on the backburner. So much of time and energy were wasted on this project. If this is the fate, would anybody like to work for such projects in future,” said a despairing INTACH office-bearer.

Gavipuram proposal

Similarly, INTACH's proposal to declare Gavipuram, which has the famous cave temple of Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple precincts, as a heritage zone or a ward was agreed upon with enthusiasm in the initial stage. Since then there has been no forward movement on this proposal, which would have set a precedent in conserving heritage in the area and which could have been extended to other heritage pockets, sources said.

The proposal to amend the Town and Country Planning Act, worked out jointly by officials and conservation activists, has been sent to Urban Development Department. It has not been accepted. This proposal would have given the powers to the government to declare an area as heritage precincts, adopt special regulations for the areas and take up conservation work besides allowing buildings for adaptive reuse by permitting change of land use.

Commissioner upbeat

Meanwhile, K.R. Ramakrishna, Commissioner for Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, said the department was positive about conserving heritage in Bangalore, and that he would pursue the pending proposals over the next few months.

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