By S.T. Ravikumar
Mysore/Mysuru: The ongoing survey of 129 heritage structures within the limits of Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) is nearing completion stage and the survey of 115 structures have already been completed.
A report will be submitted to Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr. K.V. Rajendra to be sent to the State Government for further action. The DC is the Chairman of the District Heritage Committee.
Simultaneously, a proposal is being worked out to hand over some of the monuments for adoption under the ‘Adopt a Monument’ scheme, an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India.
This initiative welcomes participation from various entities, including public sector companies, private sector firms, and individuals, to undertake the development of selected monuments, heritage sites, and tourist attractions.
Though the initiative was launched in 2022, it did not get the desired response from the corporate houses. Now the District Administration will pursue the initiative with renewed vigour.
The development process under the initiative involves ensuring essential amenities such as drinking water facilities, accessibility for individuals with disabilities and senior citizens, clear and standardised signage, cleanliness, public rest rooms and proper illumination. Additionally, advanced amenities such as surveillance systems, night-viewing options and tourism facilitation centres are encouraged to enhance the overall experience at these sites.
The selection of sites/monuments for adoption is based on their popularity among tourists and visibility. These sites can be adopted by private and public sector companies, as well as individuals, who are referred to as ‘Smaraka Mitras’. The adoption period initially spans five years, and the process does not involve any financial bidding.
Corporate sector entities are encouraged to utilise their Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) funds for the maintenance and upkeep of the adopted sites. This approach ensures that the corporate sector contributes to the preservation and enhancement of these cultural and heritage assets for the benefit of the public and the overall tourism experience.
There are over 129 heritage structures within the limits of the MCC and these buildings are being graded according to the norms specified in the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Model Building (Amendment) Bylaws- 2021.
The survey is taking into consideration all the structural aspects, date of construction, present state of building, need of restoration and the estimated cost of repairs.
A Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the conservation will also be submitted to the Deputy Commissioner (DC).
According to officers, the survey of 129 heritage structures will be completed by June 15 and a report will be submitted to the DC. Of the 115 surveyed structures, 50 percent of the buildings are in a dilapidated state and need urgent repairs, said Prof. N.S. Rangaraju of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)-Mysuru and Member of District Heritage Committee. He is also a part of the survey team.
Other members of the team are Heritage Commissioner Devaraju, Deputy Director of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage Manjula, former VTU Dean Prof. Syed Shakeeb Ur Rahman, Structural engineer Sharath Chandra, Assistant Director of MCC Town Planning R. Ramya and Assistant Engineer R. Pavithra.
Lukewarm response from corporates for ‘Adopt a Monument’ scheme
It may be mentioned here that in 2022, 11 monuments in Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Kodagu were identified as part of the ‘Adopt a Monument’ project.
The Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage had released a list of 53 monuments across the State for adoption including Srirangapatna Fort and Moat in Srirangapatna, Shiva Temple at Thegginaghatta in K.R. Pet Taluk, Kodandarama Temple at Haruvu in Pandavapura taluk and Melukoterayagopura, Kalyani, Bhuvaneshwari Mantapa and Akka-Thangiyara Kola, all in Melukote.
In Kodagu, the Raja’s Tombs in Madikeri and Nalnaad Palace in Yavakapadi village, Kalyani at Varakodu in Varuna Hobli of Mysuru taluk and Chandra Pushkarni in Kollegal, Chamarajanagar district were also in the list.
Reports indicate that the scheme has received a limited response from corporate houses and organisations, with only two out of the 53 identified monuments receiving an ‘expression of interest’ for adoption.
Several factors have contributed to this lacklustre response, including inadequate publicity, insufficient facilities at the monuments and a perception that corporate houses may not receive positive publicity due to the relatively low footfall at these sites, sources said.
Corporate houses typically anticipate some form of positive returns, not necessarily monetary, when adopting monuments. However, certain monuments face challenges such as poor road connectivity and low visitor numbers, which may deter corporate entities from participating in the scheme, as per sources.