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Vol. XXXIII No. 3, May 16-31, 2023

Heritage Watch: When Heritage is Obscured

In case you are of the kind that likes to see its heritage buildings sans any obstructions, now is the time to do it. For rather like the camel and the Arab, the large outdoor hoardings are all set to make a comeback to our city. They were banned in 2017 and since then the city has breathed but it seems now not for long. A modification to the laws here, an appeal to the High Courtthere, a statement on how it affects revenues somewhere else, and we now understand that the clock is to be put back.

Heritage will as usual be one of the worst affected. The Justice E Padmanabhan Committee had in 2010 recommended banning of hoardings outside 400-and-odd heritage structures. This was also upheld by the High Court of Madras. We now wonder as to what the fate of that order will be. But then, many of the heritage structures listed in that Committee report have themselves vanished!

Our Very Old shows VP Hall in all its glory. The Old shows the building obscured by hoardings in the 1980s. Our New shows it as it is now, not in all its glory perhaps but visible. How long will that view now last?

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