Save the Mairie: A Heritage Lost to the Future
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Letting the Pondicherry Authorities rebuild the Mairie in RCC would be a huge setback to the conservation work and to the remaining Traditional/Heritage government buildings across town. While traditional methods, techniques and material have stood the test of time, the local Authority’s obstinate, insistent stand on rebuilding the Mairie in RCC points to a larger vested interest of a few individuals over and above the real concern.
The Local Authority’s excuse for not going ahead with the traditional material is due to non-availability of standardised and quality traditional building material. This is clear mischief intended to create a bias and fear in the innocent resident’s mind regarding the safety and reliability of these old beauties.
Once the Mairie is rebuilt in RCC, it will create a precedent and all other Traditional/Heritage Government buildings will follow suit due to public fear, leading to public uprise demanding to raze all other Traditional/Heritage Government buildings and to rebuild them in RCC. The Local Authorities has already demonstrated its intent, except for the old court building on the beach road, by not spending any money in retrofitting any of the other Traditional/Heritage buildings as recommended by the Department of Archaeology, Government of India.
If the Mairie cannot be built in traditional materials then let it be rebuilt in Green Building Material like Fly-Ash Concrete and Slag Sand from the Waste of Industries and backed-up by Solar Energy. Let us take this opportunity to eliminate the use of river sand and red bricks which have huge negative implication and impact on our immediate environment.
Thanks in part to the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Green Building Projects are seeing an increasingly positive trend worldwide. The Mairie building could become the Watershed project for Pondicherry to demonstrate Green Building Techniques and Technology. As a matter of fact, this could become a stepping stone in creating awareness in Pondicherry, whereby the local government could take the opportunity to make it mandatory for all future Government Buildings and projects to be executed in only Sustainable Alternate Building Materials (SABM).
The main motivation behind Sustainable Green Construction is to reduce Carbon Emissions by Conserving Natural Resources and decreasing energy consumption and increasing Energy Efficiency in homes and buildings around us. Since funding is not an issue, World Bank has sanctioned Rs 15 crores for the Mairie to be built in RCC. Let us take this opportunity to make it a Role Model project and put an end to this “Look-Alike Culture” and re-build the MAIRIE in a Sustainable Green Technology, making it truly a “Leaf from the Future”.
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