ANDHRA PRADESH

‘Protected site’ cries for attention

Defaced heritage: Barbed fencing and advertisements mar the fortification wall, a protected site, at Malkajgiri.  

J.S. Ifthekhar

Shaw Wallace company functions from the Baradari site



The fortification wall serves more to advertise products

The monument was declared ‘protected’ in June 1976



Hyderabad: Rules are followed more in breach when it comes to protecting monuments in the city. Take for instance the case of the fortification wall and ‘Baradari’ at Malkajgiri. Far from being protected, they are at the mercy of vandals.

The ancient wall has come handy for all and sundry to advertise products while someone has put up barbed wire fencing over it – cutting into the stone fortification in the process. The mandatory rule of not constructing anything within 100 metres of a monument goes for a toss here. One can see a whole basti mushrooming all over. Some houses have come up cheek by jowl. If this is considered strange, hold your breath. There is a factory right within the precincts of the fortification wall. And the best part is the Department of Archaeology and Museums is simply not aware of this peculiar situation.

Wanton destruction

“Neglect and sometimes wanton destruction has played havoc with heritage monuments in the city,” says P. Anuradha Reddy, core committee member, INTACH. She was prevented from taking the pictures of the fortification wall and ‘Baradari’. The pathetic state of affairs has been persisting for several decades with officials either blissfully unaware or looking the other way. The fortification wall built by the Nizam is spread over 11 acre and 7 guntas and situated in Survey No 712/2 and 712/12. Built in Qutb Shahi style, it has a height of 14 feet and a width of 6 feet.

The ‘Baradari’ is situated on the southern side of the fortification wall on a three stepped platform. It has no roof.

New gate

One can see a new gate added to the existing two by the Shaw Wallace company. How come a factory is functioning in a ‘protected site’? Records show that the Department of Archaeology and Museums had declared it as a protected monument in June 1976 while the Shaw Wallace has been functioning here from 1964-65.

The company is stated to have purchased the property from the ‘owner’. However, when the department issued a notification in 1974 calling for objections, if any, it didn’t respond. Two years later it was declared a protected monument under the A.P. Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1960.

Agreement

The department proposed to enter into an agreement with the company when the latter approached it in 1996. “Somehow it didn’t take place and the draft agreement is still pending with the government pleader,” says G.V. Ramakrishna Rao, Deputy Director (Technical), Archaeology and Museums.