The controversy-ridden Hyderabad golf course is back in news. This time for the proposed two-day tournament being organised exclusively for delegates attending the biodiversity conference. Civil society organisations see in it the best opportunity to highlight the ‘systematic damage’ being done to heritage and environment in the name of a golf course.

Various NGOs, including the Forum for Better Hyderabad, are leading a campaign against the golf course. They feel the ensuing tournament is a good chance to highlight the issue to the international community.

No protest meetings have been planned as yet. But it is proposed to distribute a small booklet to the visiting delegates giving a history of the controversial golf course. “Everyone is talking about biodiversity but what is happening in reality is totally different,” says M. Ved Kumar, president, Forum for a Better Hyderabad.

The Hyderabad Golf Club has planned to conduct a golf tournament for foreign delegates on October 13 and 14. For this, four to five makeshift cabins are proposed to be constructed to provide basic amenities.

At a meeting chaired by the special chief secretary, Tourism and Culture, Chandana Khan, on Thursday, this matter figured. The Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Hyderabad Collector and vice chairman, APTTDC, discussed the matter but did not take a final decision.

Since the cabins will be purely temporary in nature there is no reason why permission could not be granted, the members felt.

“Once the tournament is over we can remove the cabins,” said R. Krishnaiah, superintending archaeologist, ASI.

The toilets, however, should not be an eyesore. They should be eco-friendly and match with the environment. “We will visit the site and examine the location of the toilets before granting permission,” Mr. Krishnaiah said.

The 20-page booklet prepared by the Forum says the location of the golf course in Naya Qila, part of the Golconda Fort, is an ill-conceived project.

It lists out various violations of the MoU done by the golf course authorities when the game teaches one to love nature.

“We leave it to you to decide in the context of the objectives of your conference whether directly or indirectly you should give any opportunity to the Hyderabad golf course to gain publicity,” the Forum appeals to the delegates.

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