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Apprehensions over proposed move to lease heritage mansion on UoM campus

ownership of mansion should remain vested with varsity and status quo should be maintained: Academicians

September 05, 2022 04:37 am | Updated 04:37 am IST - MYSURU

The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion on the Mysore University campus, which is more than 100 years old, is a heritage structure.

The Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion on the Mysore University campus, which is more than 100 years old, is a heritage structure. | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

A section of academicians has taken exception to the proposed move of the University of Mysore to lease Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion to the State for 30 years.

The Department of Kannada and Culture and the varsity is expected to sign an MoU for the lease of property which is more than 100 years old and it will house the Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada (CESCK).

The former Vice-Chancellor J. Shashidhar Prasad and retired professor Nanjaraja Urs said at a press conference here on Sunday that the ownership of the heritage mansion should remain vested with the varsity and status quo should be maintained while land can be acquired and provided for establishing the CESCK elsewhere.

‘’We are for CESCK but the proposed move to lease the heritage mansion for 30 years should be dropped,’, they said. Mr. Urs said it is the varsity’s responsibility to procure funds from the government and restore and repair the heritage mansion which also houses the folklore museum. It is for the government to find a suitable land and construct a building to house the CESCK, said Mr. Urs and Prof. Prasad.

K. Mahadev, former Syndicate member of the varsity, said the entire exercise is being rushed through without discussion and alleged that it has not been discussed in the Syndicate so far.

The heritage mansion was built in 1905 during the period of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV for Jayalakshmi Ammani, the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wadiyar. It was procured by the University of Mysore in 1950s to establish a PG centre and at present houses the folklore museum.

Minister for Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar had paid a visit to the mansion along with Mysuru MP Pratap Simha a few months ago and they had opined that the building was suitable for CESCK and the restoration of the heritage structure would be taken up by the ministry.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the restoration and renovation of the mansion was ready and was expected to cost ₹27 crore.

However, sources in the varsity said the proposed move would not take away the ownership of the mansion from the varsity and the collection of antiques housed in the folklore museum will continue to remain there. The objectives of the folklore museum and the CESCK are complementary to one another and hence the apprehensions are misplaced, the sources added.

Meanwhile, G. Hemantha Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Mysore, said the MoU was yet to be signed but the proposal was a win-win situation for all. He said the condition of the heritage building was such that it required urgent intervention and the MoU – if signed – will provide for conservation of the structure and only a portion of the building will be used for CESCK.

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