Despite enough funds at its disposal, the Archaeology Department is doing little to protect monuments whose condition has become precarious following incessant rain

Brick by brick, day by day it crumbles. And with it part of Hyderabad heritage goes into oblivion. The incessant rain has claimed yet another portion of the run down Naqar Khana in the premises of Badshahi Ashoorkhana.

A chunk of the wrecked roof came down with a thud the other day. The wooden beams and rafters in the roof remain dangerously tilted. The rain-soaked roofs and walls of other ancillary structures like Niyaz Khana and Chota Ashoorkhana are also on the verge of collapse.

So precarious is the condition of the small Ashoorkhana that if it goes down it will take with it many houses on the Moti Masjid side. The tree protruding from the roof top has widened the cracks, posing severe danger.

“I am worried about those living behind,” says Mir Abbas Ali Moosvi, the caretaker’s son.

Yet the authorities are blissfully unaware of the gravity of the situation. This place of Shia mourning built by the city’s founder, Mohd Quli Qutb Shah, in 1594 seems to be protected only in name.

Huge chunks of the hoary monument have been falling at regular intervals over the years. But the Department of Archaeology and Museum prefers to look the other way. After the removal of encroachments and eviction of illegal occupants from the premises in August 2009, the High Court expressly ordered the Archaeology Department to take all measures for the repair and restoration of the heritage structure. A DPR prepared by the Heritage Conservation Initiative Consultants (HCIC) has found the current condition of the ancillary buildings of Badshahi Ashoorkhana as “deteriorating and collapsing”.

HCIC has listed out the immediate interventions needed to arrest further decay and deterioration. Some of the measures suggested include removal of the damaged wooden false ceilings, removal and refixing of the ornamental eves in the east balcony with new teak wood.

The first floor of the Naqaar Khana requires removal of the tilted portion of roof, dismantling of damaged wooden parts and removal of damaged lime plaster. Conservation measures are also suggested for the Ashoorkhana, Niyaz Khana, Sarai, caretaker’s residence and the open courtyard. The whole thing is estimated to cost Rs. 4.36 crore.

“The department has enough funds, and it is strange why it is not taking up repairs,” conservationists wonder.

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