With the Southwest Monsoon likely to set in within a week, experts have expressed concern over the fate of heritage buildings in Mysuru, some of which are in bad shape due to lack of maintenance.
The issue comes to the fore ahead of monsoon every year and though the authorities have promised funds, there has been no action on the ground so far. The members of the District Conservation Sub Committee which inspected a slew of heritage structures of the city before the elections have flagged the three palaces – Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, Vasanth Mahal which houses the teachers’ training institute, and Lalitha Mahal Hotel – as requiring ‘’urgent attention’’.
N.S. Rangaraju, member of the sub committee and convenor of INTACH Mysuru, said that funds should be released for repairs of the three palaces on a priority basis failing which they would suffer untold damage during monsoon.
He said during the recent inspection of Vasanth Mahal, the team members suffered electric shock and apart from conservation, the building electrical rewiring and repairs should also be taken up on a priority basis.
A government school on the road to Lalitha Mahal Palace was also in pitiable condition and students tend to take cover in the corners of the room during rains and no attention has been paid to it so far, said Mr. Rangaraju. The iconic Lalitha Mahal Palace also needs upkeep and maintenance as revealed by the recent inspection, he added.
One of the major landmarks of Mysuru is the Silver Jubilee Clock Tower which has developed cracks and though funds have been released and tenders have been called for it, the works were yet to commence and hence the danger to the heritage building remains, according to members of the district heritage sub-committee.
‘’Mysuru has more than 500 heritage buildings of which 139 have been notified as such and are protected. Of these 60 to 65 buildings require immediate intervention, especially the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion,” said Mr. Rangaraju.
The sub-committee feels that other heritage structures that call for intervention include the Mahajara’s College, Yuvaraja’s College, Maharani’s Science College – a portion of which collapsed last year. Even the Oriental Research Institute which is a treasure-trove of palm-leaf manuscripts, was developing leaks and intervention was a must, Mr. Rangaraju added.
Though the previous government of Basavaraj Bommai had promised funds to the heritage structures of Mysuru in the last budget, it had not made any specific allocation for it and was recently voted out. Whether the new government, which is grappling with resource mobilization to meet its guarantee scheme, will be in a position to spare funds for heritage conservation, remains to be seen.