Vadodara: A heritage railway saloon shed in Vadodra, built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III has been demolished to make way for the under-construction Ahmedabad-Mumbai National High-Speed Railway Corridor for the bullet train project.
The red sandstone shed built in the 1880s was on Tuesday razed down by the National High Speed Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which has begun construction on the bullet train corridor that would pass through the place where the saloon was located.
NHSRC has been uprooting structures that fall in line with the corridor and the mowing down of the saloon has come as a huge disappointment for locals and heritage conservationists who have been long urging for restoration of the historic structure.
Speaking to ANI, the President of the Heritage Trust of Vadodara, Sameer Khera said, "Of course, infrastructure is important for the development of any city or country, but the authorities surely knew what they were up to, still they demolished the building." He further said that the authorities made no efforts to find an alternate to it.
"Vadodara is a city of architects, yet there is no proper Heritage Working Cell, which is why we are distressed and frustrated," he said.
He also suggested the government should form a heritage cell consisting of experts living in Vadodara so that future demolition of any such building could be prevented. He also suggested preparing a heritage master plan.
The demolition of the heritage structure has caused a lot of grief to locals in Vadodara.
Speaking to ANI, Vadodara historian and art conservator, Chandrashekhar Patil said, "The government's policies are not clear. On one side, the government says that the historical structures have to be saved, on the other hand, it demolishes a historical structure. I feel the government is confused between heritage and development." He also said that there has been a rise in awareness among people regarding historical structures. He further hoped that the government would not demolish any such structure in the future.
"If the government demolishes again then the people themselves should protest against it. We will surely miss the structure, we only have its videos and photographs that we can show to the people," he said The heritage building, featuring terracotta tiles was handed over to NHSRCL by the Gujarat government when the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project was announced.
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