Golconda’s identity gets marred again

The restaurant that is being developed within the protected premises of Golconda Fort.

The restaurant that is being developed within the protected premises of Golconda Fort.  

Restaurant coming up just next to the entrance in violation of ASI norms

A new restaurant is set to open just outside the inner citadel of Golconda Fort. “A hotel will open here and work is going on for that,” said a security guard, at the site which shares the boundary wall with the 1518 Jama Masjid built by the founder of Qutb Shahi dynasty. The Golconda Fort is a national protected monument.

Earlier, a government school used to function from the location. “I have visited the site and the people building the hotel said they will not do any construction activity to change the character of the place,” said Milan Kumar Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India in Hyderabad. “The people developing the site told me it will be sit-down dining place and they are not planning to construct a roof,” informed Mr. Chauley when asked about the development.

The site is part of a quadrangle that is topped by small minarets. While small portion with two minarets is used as an Ashoorkhana (house of mourning during Muharram), the larger part of the area is where the restaurant is being developed. This reporter has not been allowed inside.

Yards away from the site is the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation ward office, tasked with food safety and civic order. “You can start a hotel anywhere in this area. If there is a hurdle we will clear it,” said a GHMC staffer who has been working at the location for the past 20 years.

Shabby structures

“All these used to be covered with tiles, then tin roof and now they are pucca buildings with concrete slabs,” said the staffer, pointing to the string of shabby restaurants that line the road between Fateh Darwaza and the Bala Hisar Darwaza.

Satellite imagery over the past 15 years shows how the trees that surrounded the area have gradually made way for low concrete structures.

“Our staff noticed a wall being constructed and we issued notice about a month back,” informed one ASI staffer at the location.

In March , 2019, asked about “the total area of Golconda Fort under ASI jurisdiction, how much is encroached. Please give in terms of names of areas, names of encroachers, acres, survey numbers,” the ASI officials expressed helplessness with this reply: “...there is no land schedule for protection notification. This office has asked the State government (District Administration) to provide the same. In the absence of it, exact data cannot be provided.”

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:45:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/golcondas-identity-gets-marred-again/article30786861.ece

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