Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXIII No. 23, March 16-31, 2024

Heritage Watch: High Court notices that Heritage Act is yet to be acted upon

The High Court of Madras, late in February took note of and expressed its distress over the TN Government not bringing into force its Heritage Act of 2012. Twelve years in cold storage is not exactly a long period of time when it comes to government functioning. After all did not Florence Nightingale remark that ‘At once’ in Madras was measured in ‘periods of Indian cosmogony’? That was in connection with drainage work in the city and we guess heritage ranks roughly the same in terms of priority. But the sad fact remains – we have a Heritage Act, but it is not yet in force. And that means our heritage structures remain at the mercy of their owners. They stand no protection under law.

The irony is that in the last 12 years the government itself has emerged as a champion of heritage, taking up repair and maintenance of historic edifices under its control. But private buildings are not so lucky. Many have vanished and we cannot blame the owners for this – after all what do they stand to gain by protecting them? That is precisely what a Heritage Act in force ought to address. Till then, historic edifices in private hands will survive only if they are lucky.

One such building, roofless for 14 years now and hanging on by a thread is Gokhale Hall on Armenian Street (see pic above). In any other country such a building would have been nationalised and preserved. Not so here. But we hope for the best.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Updated