Indira canteens have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons.

Activists residents cry foul after BBMP razes heritage building to build Indira canteenKrishna Panyam/Facebook
news Civic issues Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 19:14

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Monday demolished a vintage (nearly 100-year-old) stone building in Hoysala Nagar’s Murphy Town Market to make way for the government’s proposed Indira Canteen.

The building had been housing a library since 1983. Locals said that the library was shifted to another building two weeks ago.

"We were told to vacate the building last month. We have temporarily shifted to a room in the premises of the BBMP Girls High School nearby,” CJ Venkatesh, Deputy Director, Department of Public Libraries told The Economic Times.

"BBMP officials told us that a new library will be constructed soon," he added.

After falling out of favour with environmental activists, the razing of the heritage structure has now earned BBMP the wrath of heritage activists.

Validating its decision, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that the decision was taken because the building was in a dangerous condition and could have collapsed “any time”, according to The Hindu.

However, local residents and heritage activists disagree with the BBMP.

“It is a shame that a stone building, which would have lasted for a few 100 years more, has been demolished without a forethought. Clearly, Bengaluru needs a heritage law, at least to protect government buildings from its own bulldozers,” Aravind Chandramohan, coordinator at Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage told Bangalore Mirror.

“If it was not a heritage structure and indeed an unused dilapidated building, why raze it in the dead of the night?” Abdul Haleem, Secretary, Murphy Town Market Traders Welfare Association told The Hindu.

Indira canteens have been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons.

Prior to this incident, the Karnataka High Court had issued notices to the Commissioner and Tree Officer of the BBMP along with other authorities for felling trees in order to construct the Indira Canteen at Rajajinagar.

CM Siddaramaiah in his budget speech in March had mentioned that Bengaluru will have Namma Canteens, similar to the Amma canteens introduced by late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa.

Later, it was rechristened as Indira canteen after former PM Indira Gandhi.