Decrepit public heritage structures dotting Tamil Nadu may soon get a facelift as the state has constituted a separate division for their conservation. The Building Centre and Conservation Division (BCCD) created in the Public Works Department (PWD) will enumerate the number of heritage buildings belonging to various government departments and explore the possibility of conserving them.

Though PWD was carrying out maintenance of buildings with heritage value in the past, it is the first time that a division has been carved out exclusively for conservation work. The division has written to different state departments including the Hindu religious charitable and endowment, tourism and archaeology seeking a list of heritage structures under their purview.

The new division, headed by an engineer-in-chief, will be a single window system to maintain all heritage buildings in the state. An official said, “The division will have a detailed database of all heritage structures. Any conservation or restoration work will be executed through the division as unique methods need to be adopted for renovation, unlike the modern structures to maintain their aesthetics.”

A six-member committee comprising the dean of the school of architecture and planning in Anna University, Chief Planner of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), besides architects from PWD would be coming together to provide expert opinion to the division. A government order regarding the BCCD was issued about 20 days ago. While the division will be headquartered at Chennai, three sub-divisions will function at Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy.