Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Road widening may affect Whitefield church, club

Road widening may affect Whitefield church, club

Chitra V. Ramani
Only part of the premises will be used for widening: BBMP
Bangalore: Historians and old Bangaloreans are appalled that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has unilaterally decided to widen the Whitefield Main Road (between Hope Farm and Varthur).

Residents have raised their voice against the indiscriminate widening project that will affect a part of the premises of the historical Whitefield Memorial Church and Whitefield Club.

Sydney Smith, a long-time resident of the area, said that the BBMP issued notices to the church and club in May and has also made marking on the walls. “According to the marking, the road will be widened by 22.5 metres. If that is true, then the most important part of the church — the altar — will have to be razed,” she said.

She also said that the rear wall, including the sacred wooden panel at the back which was set up with church funds after World War I, will have to be demolished.

The non-denominational church was constructed with funds raised by the Anglo-Indian community in 1886.

According to heritage conservation consultant Krupa Rajangam, even to this day, the non-denominational character is being maintained well as the services of both Church of South India and The Anglican Church of India are conducted there. “The church is important for the history of the unique Anglo-Indian settlement which was developed in 1882 by D.S. White. The circular layout of the settlement was an experiment in town planning,” the consultant said.

V.N. Rajashekar of the Save Bangalore Committee said that it was disheartening to note that the civic authority had no intention of protecting heritage structures.

Chikkarayappa, Chief Engineer (storm-water drains and major roads), told The Hindu that only a portion of the compounds of both the church and club will be affected. “The current width of the road ranges between 25 m and 30 m; it will be widened to 45 m. The old village will not be affected. The only structure that will be affected on that road is the Sai Baba General Hospital,” he said.

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