INTACH to protest Krumbiegel Hall demolition

Experts say restoration of the hall was not taken up despite requests to do so.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Following the demolition of the Krumbiegel Hall in Lalbagh Botanical Garden, members of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) will organise a peaceful protest at the Double Road entrance to the garden on Sunday at 10 a.m.

The protest is being held to voice their objection to the Horticulture Department razing the 100-year-old structure, which was renamed to honour Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, who was superintendent of Lalbagh between 1908 and 1932.

For years together, the department failed to take up restoration of the hall despite conservationists requesting the department to do so, said Meera Iyer, co-convener, INTACH.

“We are questioning the gross neglect of the historic building by the department, which led to its collapse recently, and also the department’s decision to demolish the building without any expert opinion or public consultation,” said Ms. Iyer.

Protesters also want to highlight the necessity of having a law to protect public heritage buildings.

“Other countries have a heritage law in place to protect their urban public heritage structures. Most of these building are restored and reused. We need a similar law. Also, why should the Horticulture Department be in-charge of heritage and historic structures. There must be an independent agency to take care of such public structures,” said Yashaswini Sharma, an architect.

“Krumbiegel Hall is no more, but let this be the last building we lose,” said Ms. Iyer.

“We will also be demanding the department to take immediate steps to restore the old aquarium building inside Lalbagh,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Horticulture, Lalbagh, issued a statement on Saturday saying that inspection by CIVIL-AID Techno Clinic Pvt. Ltd. found the hall to be unstable and not in a state to be restored.

Based on the report, the department had roped in INTACH to give an estimate for rebuilding the structure and the job was entrusted to the PWD Department, the statement said.

But, due to some reason the work could not be taken up.

However, Ms. Iyer termed it misleading and said: “INTACH had presented estimates to the department for conservation and restoration of the hall and not its rebuilding.”

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 9:05:44 PM |

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