Heritage activists cry foul over the move to denotify Devdi Mehdi Nawaz Jung building
Heritage activists in the city have strongly objected the reported move of the government to denotify Devdi Mehdi Nawaz Jung building popularly known as “Banjara Bhavan” on Road No. 4, Banjara Hills, from the heritage buildings list.
Apart from being a grade 1 heritage building, it was the abode of great poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Yet, the government authorities have de-notified the building from heritage buildings list, alleged M. Veda Kumar, president, Forum For A Better Hyderabad, in a statement here on Monday.
“The government should cancel the de-notification orders and initiate steps for reconstruction of the building. Measures should also be taken to prevent any new constructions on the building site,” demanded Mr. Kumar.
Prior to the de-notification, the matter was taken to the court. During the hearings, the court did not consider the building owners arguments that it had no heritage value and that it was in a dilapidated condition.
However, heritage experts appointed by the government identified it to be a heritage structure of grade 1 category. Further, they had declared it as having undiminished heritage value and found it restorable, claimed Mr. Kumar.
“As our arguments were found insurmountable, government authorities decided to de-notify the building without considering its heritage. This is mala fide exercise and is abuse of the discretion vested under the regulations,” said Mr. Kumar.
During the court hearings, it came to light that Gavva Constructions Private Limited purchased the building and was aware of its heritage value and its accompanying obligations.
However, it chose to demolish it and yet, the government was backing the move by exhibiting unfair favour to a party against the public interest of preserving heritage, he charged.