Stage is set for demolition of pre-19th Century-era building abandoned by the erstwhile Karnataka Government Insurance Department (KGID) in Cubbon Park in Bengaluru post the order passed by a single judge bench Justice PS Dinesh Kumar. Local activists are angered not just by the permission to destroy the heritage structure, but also by the permission for new construction inside the park itself.
Following the high court order in the G K Govinda Rao vs State of Karnataka and other related cases (2001) which ruled that any construction within Cubbon Park limits has to be approved by the court, the Registrar General of the Karnataka High Court, Rajendra Badamikar, appealed before the high court in September 2014 seeking permission to build a new annexe building by axing 17 trees and shifting of the existing road. While the high court allowed the demolition of the heritage structures, it did not grant permission to cut the 17 trees or shift the road. This will be the first new building to come up in the Cubbon Park premises after a ban on further construction was put in place by an HC division bench in 2001.
However, activists and heritage lovers want to save the building and block the new construction within the Park. They hope that the court will revisit the decision soon. If their concern is not properly addressed, they are planning to approach the Division Bench.
Cubbon Park is a landmark ‘lung’ area of Bengaluru city, located within the heart of the city. Originally it covered an area of 100 acres and subsequent expansion has taken place and the area reported now is about 300 acres. However, some activists claim that the ‘fence is eating up the crop’ and as a result of which area of the Cubbon Park currently is not more than 220 acres. Inside the Park there are several heritage buildings like Attara Kacheri, the Indira Priyadarshini Children’s Library, the Venkatappa Art Gallery and the Aquarium (stated to be the second largest in India).