Plan of ac­tion

India Today - - SIMPLY PUNE - By Aditi Pai

As the her­itage cell of the Pune Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion marked its 10th an­niver­sary, the re­gal Vishram­baug­wada got a new lease of life. Pune’s her­itage sites face ne­glect mainly be­cause there’s no sin­gle au­thor­ity to take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity. Some sites come un­der the purview of the PMC, state, and Cen­tre, while oth­ers are un­der pri­vate own­er­ship. “We need a sin­gle point au­thor­ity if we want to get some se­ri­ous work done,” says Shyaam Dhawa­ley, ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer PMC and head of its Her­itage Cell. The depart­ment made its de­but in 2003 with the Vishram­baug­wada con­ser­va­tion pro­ject. With, no orig­i­nal build­ings plans of most her­itage sites avail­able, the cell had to re- map ev­ery such struc­ture in the city with the help of NGOs, her­itage groups such as INTACH and Jan­wani, and ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dents. “Her­itage be­longs to all of us and we all need to work to­wards con­serv­ing and restor­ing it,” he says.

Over the years, the restora­tion work has picked up mo­men­tum and the cell has started con­ser­va­tion of other struc­tures such as the Nanawada, Kasba Gan­pati tem­ple, Nagesh­war tem­ple and Ma­hatma Phule Mandai. Last year, the PMC joined the In­dian Her­itage Cities Net­work Foun­da­tion which ties- up with UNESCO to share in­for­ma­tion and ex­per­tise in the field of con­ser­va­tion. Last year, the PMC launched guided her­itage walks. “Th­ese struc­tures came alive in­stead of be­ing just stone and brick build­ings. We want more peo­ple to visit th­ese sites be­cause when some place lies unused, it gets de­stroyed,” says Dhawalaey. An­other pos­i­tive step that’s mak­ing city her­itage con­ser­va­tion­ists happy is a Masters De­gree in Con­ser­va­tion for ar­chi­tects by the Sin­hagad Univer­sity that will now help bring more ex­perts into the field.

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