The Karnataka government has big plans to conserve the Hampi ruins. But its public works department (PWD) apparently cares little for the historic monument that is a World Heritage site. A 153-year-old structure that was part of the Hampi ruins recently came under the PWD bulldozer.
The structure, Dadapeer Chatra, situated three kilometres from Hampi at the entrance to Kamlapur, was demolished to widen a road.
The Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority (HWHAMA), which is struggling to protect the ruins from further destruction, has sought an explanation from the department.
Though the monument – Dadapeer Chatra – does not belong to the Vijaynagar Empire (1336-1645 AD), it is still protected by HWHAMA as part of Hampi ruins which are spread over 13 kms.
Dadapeer Chatra was built by a local sultan in 1860. It was meant to be a resting place for visitors to Hampi.
It comes under the jurisdiction of HWHAMA while the state archaeology department owns the monument.
Any monument in Hampi that is more than 100 years old cannot be demolished without the approval of HWHAMA, but the PWD did not bother to take the mandatory approval.
Two weeks ago, the department sought permission from HWHAMA to widen the fourkm stretch of road connecting Kondanayakanahalli and Hampi.
The HWHAMA granted permission accordingly. However, without seeking the approval of HWHAMA or the archaeology department, the PWD contractor razed Dadapeer Chatra.
The PWD has not yet responded to HWHAMA’s notice. Historians have condemned the civic agency’s callousness.
“The state government has declared monuments older than 100 years as heritage structures. But the PWD officials are least bothered. We have petitioned HWHAMA to restore the building,” said historian Dr Vishwanath Malagi.