JAIPUR: Developing river front on the sides of Chambal river ghats has now courted controversy. According to activists, roads are being widened in the Walled City of Kota after razing old buildings of historical importance.
State government is in the process of making Kota city a tourist attraction where a ‘Chambal River Front View’ will be developed. Government has claimed that this project worth hundreds of crores will beautify the city and will attract more tourists. This is, however, allegedly being done at the cost of razing down city’s history.
Recently, a building was razed by the Kota-Urban Improvement Trust (UIT) and now a 125-year-old haveli is said to be next on target. Known as Laal Haveli, it was built by a cloth merchant in the Walled City of Kota where the jharokhas have architectural importance. However, now the owner has got a stay order from the Rajasthan High Court against its demolition.
Owner of the Laal Haveli, Arvind Kumar Jain said, “We were asked to give consent to make way for roads till Chambal Ghats by razing our ancestral haveli. We went to meet the officials and gave a dissent note in writing as this is a family heritage. Government is putting red stones on every house at the entry gate of Kota for its beautification but this 125-year-old Laal Haveli is on their target. This destruction should be stopped.”
TOI contacted UIT Kota secretary Rajesh Joshi who denied demolishing any historical or century old building. “Buildings in already dilapidated condition are being destroyed. We have taken permission from the owners before taking any action. Nothing is being done without the permission of the owners and all the rules are being followed,” said Joshi.
Reacting to the claim of permission being given by the owners, Madan Meena, director of Kota Heritage Society, who has been continuously opposing the move said, “Buildings more than 100 years old are being destroyed by the government in the name of development. If tomorrow, the royal family of Jaipur says that they will raze down City Palace to construct a complex in its place will the government let the history of the city be destroyed? Isn’t it the responsibility of the government to conserve such buildings that are century old for our future generation?”
Government is in the process of developing many flyovers, gardens, parks and a six-km Heritage Walkway at the Chambal ghats. There are said to be ‘samadhis’ of Naga sadhus at the ghats along with some idols which activists said will be in danger of getting destroyed given the development work being undertaken.