138-year-old building deemed unsafe, razed by BBMP

The building that was demolished by the BBMP at Shivajinagar in Bengaluru on Monday. Special Arrangement  

A 138-year-old building on Ibrahim Sahib Street in Shivajinagar, which was deemed unsafe, was razed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Saturday.

According to Iqbal Ahmed, who lived in the building that was constructed in 1883, there was a time when nearly 60 people lived in the heritage structure. “Over a period of time, many people moved out. There still were seven families living in the building, which also housed a total of six shops,” he said.

Following heavy rains last week, a portion of the house collapsed. This prompted the BBMP to issue a notice, apart from putting up a poster outside the structure cautioning the public about the dangerous building that could collapse any time.

“The day after the notice was issued, the BBMP officials came and demolished the building. We were neither able to retrieve or salvage any of the antique items that were inside,” Mr. Ahmed said and added that the structure is under litigation. The BBMP has now asked the building owners to pay ₹3.5 lakh as demolition charges.

Heritage structures

The razing of this old structure in the central business district raises questions about action against heritage structures that may be in a dilapidated condition.

Meera Iyer, convener of INTACH, said that ideally, decisions on razing heritage structures should be taken by the Heritage Conservation Committee. For Bengaluru, there should be in place the Bengaluru Urban Arts Commission (BUAC), which should take a call on such issues, she said.

“In July, in a case regarding a heritage building, the Karnataka High Court had directed that decisions regarding any heritage structure must be taken by a Heritage Conservation Committee. If there is no committee in place, it must be set up before such decisions can be taken, the court had noted,” she said.

As per the draft Revised Master Plan drawn up by the Bangalore Development Authority, there were over 500 heritage structures in the city, which included government buildings, institutions, and private properties. However, Ms. Iyer pointed out that the list was not comprehensive. This is where the constitution of the BUAC becomes important, as the committee can not just identify heritage structures, but also draw up a plan for their conservation, she added.

With a number of private properties also deemed heritage, the BUAC could, with approval from the government, come out with out-of-the-box plans for conservation of such structures. For instance, the heritage committee in one of the cities provides incentives to owners of heritage structures towards maintenance. “While we need not replicate the same thing, the BUAC can use it as a template and come up with different conservation ideas,” she stated.

Meanwhile, BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that as per the preliminary report of the new survey of old and dilapidated buildings in the city, there were over 300 such structures. “We are in the process of issuing notices to the owners of these buildings. Depending on the structural stability of the building, we will take action to demolish it or allow the owners to take corrective measures,” he said. He reiterated that irrespective of whether the building was government owned or private property, action would be taken if it is deemed unsafe.

Asked if any compensation will be given to the owners of the buildings razed in Kamalanagar, Mr. Gupta said the zonal joint commissioner would decide based on the guidelines specified under Disaster Management Act.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 1:18:27 AM |

Next Story