Chalai & Attakulangara School - Heritage Status Demand
On Dec 18, 2014
|Trivandrum: A group of concerned citizens involving members of TreeWalk, Attakulangara School Samrakshana Samiti and Citizens for Sustainable Alternatives are demanding the protection of archaeologically important Attakulangara School and Chalai Bazaar.
The group consisted of renowned personalities like veteran journalist B R P Bhaskar, social scientist Dr. K Saradamoni and neuroscientist Dr. Asha Gopinathan.
Talking on the occasion, Bhaskar said, “We should learn how to protect our heritage. See the Europeans and how they still maintain their old beautiful cities.”
Responding to the questions regarding the recent fire hazards and the future risk, he said, “These things happen everywhere. The fires are not caused by congested spaces. It is caused mainly due to two reasons. One is short circuit which can be solved by taking out the old wiring and rewiring the buildings. The other reason is the purposeful creation of hazards with malicious intentions.”
“Govt. of India has nominated the Oak Grove School in Mussoorie which was built in 1888 for UNESCO heritage status, then why can’t the government of Kerala do the same to Attakulangara School which is more than 134 years old, rather than allocating the land for a bus bay and a shopping complex? What Chalai requires is proper drainage, waste disposal and fire safety mechanisms,” reiterated Dr. Asha Gopinathan.
She also informed about petitioning the Secretary of Urban affairs and Local Self Government and its status.
Asha added, “We finally created an online petition using Change.org and collected 3000 signatures. This we have submitted to Minister K C Joseph and Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan on December 3, 2014. We want a detailed study on greater Fort-Chalai- Attakulangara School by Archaeology department along with Arts and Heritage Commission.
“The study and its outcomes should be open and transparent. If a study team is formed, we want one of our members to be a part of it,” Asha added. She also said that the UNESCO heritage status will bring with it not only fame but also economic benefits to the city.
After the recent fire accident at Chalai, which gutted 2-3 shops, government is actively pursuing different models for rebuilding Chalai. There have been discussions on pooling the land and building shopping complexes with ample facilities. This would, of course, take out the old shops and go downs.
Others present at the press meet were Veena M of TreeWalk group, Aneesh from Attakulangara School Samrakshana Samiti. They declared their stand on the issue and how they have been fruitlessly working hard for it, for over a year.