Karnataka

Devaraja Market demolition plan triggers conservation debate

MCC Commissioner Gurudutt Hegde said the general opinion is that the structure could be conserved only if it were to be a museum piece to showcase Old Mysore architecture.

MCC Commissioner Gurudutt Hegde said the general opinion is that the structure could be conserved only if it were to be a museum piece to showcase Old Mysore architecture.   | Photo Credit: MASRIRAM

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Officials say it has to be razed in public interest

The demolition of Devaraja Market in the city may not be impending in the immediate future but is ‘inevitable’ going by the official stance on the subject.

Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner Gurudutt Hegde told The Hindu that expert committee reports and view of engineers is that Devaraja Market was structurally weak and posed a danger as it would be used by hundreds of people daily and had to be demolished in public interest. The general opinion was that the structure could be conserved only if it were to be a museum-piece to showcase a slice of Old Mysuru architecture and not a functioning market, he added.

The MCC Commissioner said the heritage committee decision and the views of the expert committee will be submitted to the government. Also, the High Court, which is hearing a case against the demolition of the Devaraja Market and directed the MCC to study the feasibility of conserving the structures, has to be informed. Everything will also depend on the HC ruling, he added.

Besides, the matter being sensitive and involving the livelihood of hundreds, a meeting of the stakeholders has to be convened too. Furthermore, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed new structure has to be prepared and approved by the authority.

Above all, funds have to be earmarked for it by the government as the MCC does not have money to build a new market of the size of Devaraja Market, said Mr. Hegde. “So we have a long way to go,” he added.

The issue has already left citizens divided. Even the scion of the erstwhile royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar expressed concern over the developments. He said that the expert committee had only one heritage specialist.

The Wadiyars recently completed the restoration and renovation of the Jaganmohan Palace which houses the Art Gallery. Hence, Mr. Yaduveer said they could offer suggestions and technical assistance through their consultants on the conservation of heritage structures.

N.S. Rangaraju, who is in the Heritage Committee, said it was packed with civil engineers with no knowledge of heritage conservation and expressed concern that Mysuru could soon be a graveyard for heritage buildings.

Even the MCC council had passed a resolution a few years ago paving the way for its demolition and reconstruction underlining the apathy of the elected representatives towards heritage conservation.

The Devaraja Market is over 130 years old. Over the years it was the central place for purchase of traditional items and soon became a must-see on tourists’ itinerary.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 12:14:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/devaraja-market-demolition-plan-triggers-conservation-debate/article30552842.ece

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