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Heritage conservationists up in arms over demolishing of 150-year-old iconic Balabrooie guest house for a club

The idea of building an exclusive legislators club was conceived almost 18 years ago.

Updated:October 25, 2014, 3:07 PM IST
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Heritage conservationists up in arms over demolishing of 150-year-old iconic Balabrooie guest house for a club
The idea of building an exclusive legislators club was conceived almost 18 years ago.

Bangalore: The heritage conservationists and the civil society activists are up in the arms against Karnataka government's decision to demolish a 150 years old Balabrooie state guest house to make way for a swanky Legislators Club exclusively for the MLAs, MLCs and MPs. According to state government sources, the beautiful heritage structure in the heart of Bangalore will be demolished in the next two months.

The idea of building an exclusive legislators club was conceived almost 18 years ago. The previous BJP government's decision to speed up the work was stalled by the local activists.

The current government of the Congress party has decided to ignore the protests and go ahead with the legislators' club plan. Balabrooie is a stately building built during the rule of Sir Mark Cubbon, the British Commissioner of the Mysore kingdom, over 150 years ago.

The building has been a landmark in the city and located opposite the 150 years old Bangalore Golf Club. The majestic building is surrounded by century old huge trees and has big verandas and huge living rooms.

It was used as a guest house and residence of the dignitaries for over a century. It is currently being used a state government guest house. The Balabrooie Guest House was constructed during the British era and was the official residence of the Commissioners of Bangalore till Independence. Spread across 15 acres amid sprawling gardens containing 150 different varieties of centuries-old trees, it is among the last few remaining lung spaces of Bangalore. Nobel laureates, freedom fighters and foreign dignitaries have stayed at Balabrooie Guest House, which is among the heritage structures of the city.

It was the official residence of the first three chief ministers of Karnataka.

Some heritage conservationists argue that instead of demolishing the building, the same building can be converted into legislators' club. The others argue that the building should be converted into Bangalore Museum.

They have now urged the chief minister Siddaramaiah not to allow the demolition of the heritage structure. An activist Zarir Batliwala has started an online petition campaign on thechange.org to save the iconic building.

Those who want to join the campaign can sign petition here.

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