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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brickfields stakeholders to rally on Sunday to save ashram

Stakeholders in Brickfields will hold a rally this Sunday to push for the 110-year-old Vivekananda Ashram to be gazetted as a heritage site. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 31, 2015.Stakeholders in Brickfields will hold a rally this Sunday to push for the 110-year-old Vivekananda Ashram to be gazetted as a heritage site. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 31, 2015.
Stakeholders in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, are holding a rally this Sunday to push for the 110-year-old Vivekananda Ashram next to Jalan Rozario to be gazetted as a heritage site.
The rally is being organised by the Save Vivekananda Ashram Action Committee.
Brickfields Asia College founder Rajasingham said that the fate of the ashram was now in the hands of the Federal Territories and Tourism Ministries.
"We hope both the ministers will come together and save our ashram. Nazri has already given his support and assured us that Tengku Adnan is also on board. However, we are still waiting for the Federal Territories minister's stand on the matter," he said.
Rajasingham said that the board of trustees for the ashram had at the eleventh hour objected to the gazettement of the ashram as a heritage site.
"They objected and now City Hall will be calling for a public hearing on the matter. We hope that Tengku Adnan will give his consent to gazette the site," he said.
DAP national vice-chairman, M. Kula Segaran, said on March 24 that the Tourism Ministry had promised to conduct an open hearing to formally receive views and suggestions on conserving Vivekananda Ashram as a heritage site.
Rajasingham said that the main aim of the rally this Sunday was to remind the people that the ashram's fate was still undetermined.
"Many people think the issue has been sorted out but it's not. We want to gather the people to show their support for the ashram," he said.
Save Vivekananda Ashram Action Committee member G. Gunasegaran said the gathering was to show the trustees that the people were unhappy with the decision to develop the site.
"We want the trustees to withdraw their objection so that the site can be gazetted. As a last resort, we might take the matter to court," he said.
It was reported that the board of trustees had decided to sell and redevelop the 0.4ha plot of land because it needed funds for the schools and charities under its care.
The redevelopment plan included a 23-storey apartment tower on the site.
The Vivekananda Ashram Board of Trustees defended their redevelopment proposal, saying that the move would provide funds for schools and charity homes under its care and for its future plans.
Rajasingham had offered to start a fund to save the Vivekananda Ashram and started the ball rolling with RM1 million.
Following the furore, the ashram management committee finally broke its silence and stated that its redevelopment plans did not include demolishing the building. Instead, the building would remain intact and the Swami Vivekananda statue outside the building would be retained.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal said in November last year that City Hall was still considering the application by the ashram's board of trustees to develop the heritage site.
- TMI

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