Heritage status hindering repairs at Bengali Club
The Bengali Club, next to the Kashmere Gate wall on the Boulevard Road, is part of the gazette notification listing 746 heritage buildings and structures under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).delhi Updated: Jul 11, 2010 23:30 IST
The Bengali Club, next to the Kashmere Gate wall on the Boulevard Road, is part of the gazette notification listing 746 heritage buildings and structures under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
However, thanks to the notification, the building cannot be touched without the permission of the civic body, even though it is in dire need of repairs.
Said Somprakash Mitra, Arts & Cultural secretary of the Bengali Club, “One of the cast iron pillars supporting the balcony was damaged some time ago after it was hit allegedly by a speeding truck.”
The roof has cracked, the plaster is coming off the walls and in general, the building has become unsafe. There is always the danger of electric shock due to seepage in the old walls. In fact, the Club members have restricted the number of
functions to avoid any mishap.
Despite repeated requests to the owner, nothing has been done. The Club members then approached the MCD, first in August 2009.
Then, despite repeated reminders, the last letter they wrote was in March 2010 after the notification for the heritage building was issued.
Vinay Gupta, owner of the remaining portion of the building - his family has two shops - said, “MCD has not been carrying out its job, not even cleaning. How do we expect them to help us in this? We carry out our own repairs.”
Apart from the Bengali Club, there are several other tenants in the building. One of them, on condition of anonymity, said, “I don't have expectations either from the owner or from the MCD. They have done nothing.”
Said AGK Menon, convenor of the Delhi chapter of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), “Unfortunately, the tenants cannot do anything. It is the owner who has to approach the civic body.”
But like in case of the Bengali Club, Menon points out, if the owner is not willing to do anything, “MCD should act on itself. Otherwise, it should be blamed for any untoward accident.”
Said Deep Mathur, MCD's Director (Press and Information), “The proposal has recently been received and is under process at MCD. On completion of formalities, it will be sent to the Heritage Conservation Cell (HCC) of the Central Government, as per rules. The MCD will take further action on the basis of the recommendations of the HCC.”