Facelift for heritage structures

R. Krishna Kumar

The vision statement envisages Mysore city as an important cultural centre

The city has over 200 heritage structures

CDP has proposed to restore 15 heritage buildings

MYSORE: World Heritage Week, which is celebrated from November 19 to 25 every year, to create awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the country, has special significance for Mysore.

For the city is a repository of over 200 structures and monuments that has been categorised under the heritage tag. Hence, the Union Government’s decision to identify Mysore for its heritage and cultural aspects and development under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is expected to bring in funds for heritage conservation and development.

The vision statement as spelt out in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) of Mysore, which was submitted to the Centre, envisages development of Mysore as an important cultural centre, exhibiting and showcasing the State’s rich heritage and legacy, and promotion of tourism, which will be the mainstay of the local economy.

According to the CDP, Rs. 50 crore will be spent on renovation of heritage buildings of Mysore during the period 2007-12; a similar amount is expected to be invested during in the time horizon of 2013 to 2031, with Rs.50 crore likely to be sought for each block of five years.

The total investment for tourism and heritage development during 2001-12 under various heads, including creating infrastructure for water and sanitation, information kiosks, setting up new signages, audio guide, operation and maintenance of heritage structures and public amenities is expected to be around Rs. 312 crore.

This includes Rs. 150 crore proposed for a convention centre and a golf course.

This could become popular among the niche travellers and businessmen once the air service to Mysore becomes operational by 2008.

Promotion of products

Promoting the unique products of Mysore like its handicrafts and silk, apart from projecting the city’s growing reputation as a centre for Yoga, is expected to cost Rs. 45 crore as spelt out in the CDP.

In addition, parking terminus for tongas has been mooted. This is expected to help revive the waning fortunes of the tonga owners and staff.

Since Mysore was identified for its heritage, the projects proposed in the CDP had to be in tune with the vision statement.

The authorities have already prepared a Detailed Project Report for the conservation of about 15 heritage buildings in Mysore, which will be implemented by the HUDCO with Union Government funding. The structures identified for restoration are Devaraja Market (Rs. 5 crore), Seetha Vilas Shraddanand Dharma Shala (Rs. 1.2 crore), Lansdowne Building and its surroundings (Rs. 5 crore), Vani Vilas Market (Rs. 1 crore), Chamarajendra Technical Institute (Rs. 1.15 crore), Maharani’s Government Women’s Science College (Rs. 70 lakh), Maharani’s Junior College (Rs. 40 lakh), Krishnarajendra (Eye) Hospital (Rs. 30 lakh), Government Boy’s High School at Lakshmipuram (Rs. 35 lakh), K.R. Hospital (Rs. 1.5 crore), Ayurvedic College (Rs. 70 lakh), Maharaja Sanskrit Pathashala (Rs. 70 lakh), Banumaiah High School (Rs. 60 lakh), beautification of Hardinge Circle and Kuppanna Park (Rs. 95 lakh) and the beautification of Duffering Clock Tower in front of the Devaraja Market (Rs. 45 lakh).

Other buildings

In addition, the Mysore Area Heritage Task Force and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has listed other structures like the Divisional Office of the Railways, K.R. Circle, Chamaraja Circle, Wellington House, Gordon House, Crawford Hall, Oriental Research Institute, Agrahara, the court complex among others.

Likewise, Srirangapatana has been identified as a heritage town and there are plans to develop it on the lines of Hampi and preserve a slice of the past for posterity.

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