Posted On Monday, July 30, 2012 at 09:49:27 AM
Even as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration plans to embark on its ambitious heritage walk project, most of the sites on the itinerary are in a shambles. While some have been undergoing renovation for years on end, repair and restoration work at other sites have been stalled due to various reasons.
This delay in reviving the heritage sites has rendered them weak to such an extent that a single downpour may prove dangerous. According to the PMC’s plan, the heritage walk will cover sites from Shaniwar Wada to Vishrambaug Wada. Against this backdrop, Mirror visited these sites and found the structures in a dilapidated state.
Shyam Dhavale, chief of the PMC’s heritage cell, said, “Vishrambaug Wada’s restoration programme is ready for implementation, but some part of the structure is still occupied by the government library and post office. Unless they move out from the wada, we can’t go ahead with our work.” He added, “The funds for the project have been raised from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.”
UOP Main Building
Last month Vasudev Gade, vicechancellor of University of Pune (UoP), announced that the restoration and renovation work of the main building, which kicked off in June 2003, is likely to be completed by December 2013 after getting a verbal assurance from the contractors.
However, Narendhra Jadhav, then VC, had announced in 2008 that the same will be finished by 2009 end. Last week Mirror found the work was going on at snail’s pace with the walls and pillars exposed to the elements. The 148- year-old Italian Gothic style building is a list ‘A’ heritage structure.
The precious paintings at the Maratha kingdom site are fast disappearing.
Kiran Kalamdani of Kimaya Architects, which did the restoration work, said, “According to the ASI, the paintings should be conserved as it is.
Although the ASI carried the processes two years ago there has been no difference.”
It is regarded as the third-most important monument in the city. The civic body has sanctioned Rs 1 crore and started its restoration work in 2008. Till date, it couldn’t complete even Phase 1 of the project.
The carved ceiling, wooden arches and pillars in the front portion of the wada are in shape now. But these were later additions. Nana Wada originally belonged to Nana Phadnavis, the chief minister in the court of the Peshwa. It was built around 250 years. The walls depict paintings from the 18th century.
In 2004, the PMC undertook restoration of Vishrambaug Wada which was to be completed in three phases and allocated a budgetary provision of Rs 3 crore. In the first phase, PMC changed the bricks of the outer part of the structure and matched them with the original.
The second phase, which involved repairing the roof and other internal damages, has been delayed. The third phase is yet to take off. Valuable exhibits displaying the city’s transition from Punawadi to Punyanagari have been damaged by moisture while seeping water has ruined the valuable wooden work on the second floor.
The 250-year-old structure at Rasta Peth is still owned by the Raste family and was included in the heritage list in 1999. Kumar Raste said, “The civic body has not done anything to preserve the structure and does not allows us to do so. When we informed them that most of the structures may collapse at anytime, they said let it fall first then we will see.”
Raste added, “All this heritage talk is humbug and only a ploy to make money. What is the use of having heritage status if there is no institutional support. The structure has been supported with iron girders and wires.”