Friday, December 26, 2008

Who'll bathe Vidhana Soudha?

Who'll bathe Vidhana Soudha?

taj mahal is getting a scientific wash. karnataka's seat of power also needs one

Rohith BR. Bangalore
Vidhana Soudha, the city's landmark edifice, badly needs a facelift.
Its sparkling white has turned into pallor. The masonry has gone black in several places. Moss is a common sight in the nooks and corners. The most exposed portions sport a thick layer of dust that can't be scraped off easily.
Heritage experts say that the blackened masonry and grim facade is only a symptom of the larger malaise afflicting the building.
"Corrosive salts lurk behind the grime, moss and lichen and can foster dampness. The filth itself can be masking decay. This may also lead to serious structural faults," warns Thomas Alva, a heritage expert.
He says one needs to cleanse Vidhana Soudha to open the building's pores and allow normal transpiration of moisture. "The pores of the substrata must be left free of any residual acidity or alkalinity that could cause the formation of damaging soluble salts," he adds.
Heritage experts also feel that the rising amount of hydrocarbons and pollutants in the atmosphere can cause serious damage to the building.
Proposals and plans have been made to restore it but nothing has been done in this regard till date.
Three years ago, INTACH, an NGO instrumental in restoring the glory to many of the city's heritage buildings (including the BBMP headquarters and Town Hall), proposed to the Public Works Department (PWD) to handle Vidhana Soudha's restoration work. But the proposal never took off.
The PWD spends around Rs2 crore annually for Vidhana Soudha's maintenance. Heritage experts feel stone structures like Vidhana Soudha must be regularly washed.
Suresh Kumar G of Alpha High-Tech Polyurethanes, the company which has expertise in cleansing monuments, says the structure would turn yellowish because of the repeated accumulation of dust, moisture, pollutants, etc. "If you dont give a scientific wash to the structure, it will gradually decline affecting its charm," he explains.


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