Heritage activists and various NGOs have been up in arms ever since the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Archaeological Society of India and the Government of India, signed an agreement for establishing a golf course at Naya Qila, Golconda Fort.
“This memorandum violates the site integrity of the qila from an archaeological point of view, besides destroying the chances of it getting the UNESCO heritage status. HGA is constantly violating the rules and changing the contours of the qila,” charges Jasveen Jairath, founder-convenor of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL).
Water bodies hit
The High Court had granted permission to the HGA to lay grass, but in the name of laying grass, it dumped mud near the Mustafa Khan Masjid and is destroying centuries-old graves. Even now remnants of the graves are scattered near the Masjid, she alleges.
The same was brought to the notice of ASI but its superintending archaeologist denied any such violation of orders, she says and accuses the department of turning a blind eye to the illegal activities. It was only after the intervention of the Wakf Board that forced the HGA to stop the activities, she explains.
It is not just about the Mustafa Khan Masjid area, HGA has been violating rules pertaining to water bodies as well as they are drawing water from Naya Qila talab for laying grass and as a result the water body is shrinking, she says.
“The Bagh-e-Naya Qila or Qutub Shahi Gardens area is yet to be demarcated by ASI. But the HGA has already commenced its works in this area. The HGA and ASI are hand-in-glove in this issue,” she fumes.