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Forum For Better Hyderabad Celebrates 5th Formation Day
Professionals care for Hyderabad Heritage
Heritage Walk
Workshop for School Children & Teachers
A letter to the commissioner and special officer, GHMC regarding Dilapidated buildings in city.Dated:26.06.2007
Heritage Cell Aims & Objectives
Current Laws and some essential information  on Heritage Conservation
Efforts put on to save G-Block Building(Saifabad Palace)in A.P. Secretariat

The Forum For a Better Hyderabad, right from its formation, has a Heritage Cell. Its activities are:

It all began in a small and informal way. Dr. V.K.Bawa, erstwhile chairman of the state committee for making Hyderabad a world heritage city, started a meeting every Sunday at the Mecca Masjid of interested persons. Interested persons from different walks of life, serving and retired,  gathered, exchanged information and gave suggestions and volunteered to work for heritage conservation at the twin cities.  Soon, a heritage cell was formed in the Forum For A Better Hyderabad, under the convenorship of Dr. V.K.Bawa.

At this time, the Tourism department of the state government started a Heritage walk every Sunday for an hour, to visit the heritage buildings and heritage precincts in the twin cities. There were several such tours. The tour programme was designed by Ms Nalini Thakur. We participated in these walks. As we took the heritage walks, we marveled at the grandeur, the serenity and the beauty of the heritage buildings. We, however, found there were many more buildings, which were on the list of heritage buildings. We saw that the expanding needs of  the city's growth, road- widening, pollution , the unauthorized occupation of parts and premises of the buildings, the natural decay and the temptation of the private owners to pull down some of these buildings,  were threatening conservation of heritage sites. There was very little awareness of and next to nil respect for, the regulations laid down by the state government for the conservation of heritage buildings and precincts. In many cases, repair was done by cement and bricks, which did not fit in with nor sustain the old structure.

In the precinct areas, particularly, Charminar precinct, new constructions came up totally out of tune with the surroundings and violating the sky lines. The whole ambience of the place was lost.

Although Hyderabad was 400 years old with a rich history, the listed heritage buildings numbered only 137. Experts say the number should run in thousands. There has been no addition to the list for about a decade.

The tasks before the heritage cell of the Forum were clear-cut.  To conserve the existing heritage buildings and precincts. For that purpose, to obtain the co-operation of concerned government departments, in particular, the Tourism department, the Municipal corporation of Hyderabad, to preserve these sites notwithstanding the needs for expansion, road-widening, etc; therefore, to dovetail a development plan which will  increase the facilities for the residents of the old city and the tourists without destroying heritages or a heritage centered plan for development and tourism. The government too often proclaimed such intent but in practice, they violated this concept.

The second task for heritage conservation was to monitor these sites against dilapidation or destruction. For this, to create awareness among the Municipal corporation and the HUDA for maintenance; among the general public; among the private  owners and to motivate them by suggesting to the authorities suitable incentives for them.

The third task is to add to the list of the heritage buildings and precincts.
With these perspectives , the Heritage Cell of the Forum undertook all its activities.

In the year 2000, the Cell opposed certain parts  of the Charminar pedestrian project prepared by an Ahmedabad-based consultant, Vastu Shilpa Consultants,  which was accepted by the Tourism department, without obtaining the approval of Huda, acting on the recommendations of Heritage Conservation Committee, which was violative of the state government's own regulations (Regulation 13 of Huda Zoning Regulations 1981).  The report proposed  road widening which would at points  run through, literally slicing, protected monuments like Daru Shifa, the 400 year old Hospital and Medical School, which dates back to the Qutub shahi period. And the Chow Moholla Palace gates would have to be demolished to make way for the road. The report recommended designs for street-lighting, modern furniture, arches, kiosks which would be totally out of alignment with the ambience of Laad Bazaar. It recommended office towers, restaurants, etc, shifting of government offices to the precinct which will further increase the  concentration of traffic at one spot, defeating the concept of spreading out of the same . The proposed landscaping with trees, & reflecting pools at  the Charminar monumen      will change the character of Charminar surroundings.  The proposal of Vastu Shilpa Consultants was shelved.

In the same year, the State Tourism Department and the Municipal Corporation of  Hyderabad undertook a road widening programme in the Charminar precincts, without obtaining the approval of HUDA, which was to act on the advice of the Heritage Conservation Committee appointed by the state government in terms of Regulation 13 of Huda Zoning Regulations 1981. On our filing a petition to the High Court, the  Municipal Corporation of  Hyderabad obtained the approval of  HUDA,  acting  on the advice of Heritage Conservation Committee, but assured that road widening will not affect any heritage building or the ambience of the Charminar precinct. The HUDA,  acting  on the advice of Heritage Conservation Committee, stipulated certain conditions for permitting the road widening which the Municipal Corporation of  Hyderabad undertook to comply with. The High Court, thereafter, giving permission to undertake road widening as per stipulations laid down by HUDA, ruled that it was the duty of the state government to preserve heritage buildings and precincts, and that it was obligatory under all circumstances to obtain the approval of HUDA, which was to act on the advice of Heritage Conservation Committee, notwithstanding the fact that the road widening project was a part of the HUDA master plan which was approved before the promulgation of  Regulation 13 of Huda Zoning Regulations 1981. The judgment firmly placed the HUDA and the Heritage Conservation Committee in their rightful places.

In 2001, the Heritage Cell of the Forum came to know that a section of the Golconda Fort Wall has been broken under a contract given by  the Municipal Corporation of  Hyderabad for constructing a nullah, without the authority of the Archaeological Survey of India and the HUDA. The Cell moved the High Court for restoration of the wall under supervision of the ASI.  The petitioners also  moved for  the restoration of Mons Raymond Oblisk ( a protected monument under State  Archaeological Department), and  the Malwala  Palace , a Heritage Building under the protection of HUDA and MCH. On submission of undertaking by the Municipal Corporation of India that these buildings/wall will be restored under proper supervision under the conservation laws within a given time frame, the Court disposed of the petition while stating that the petitioners could bring to its notice any non-compliance.

In 2003-4, Adil Alan Mansion a listed heritage building was de-listed by a G.O. by the Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development of A.P on behalf of the state government, despite the repeated recommendations of the Heritage Conservation Committee to preserve the building and direction to the owners to submit a suitable restoration plan. On the Forum's petition to the High Court under a PIL, the Court asked the respondents to make their submissions and suspended the operation of the Government Order till further orders. 

Through the intervention of the Cell, the Nampally Serai, although not a declared heritage building, has been protected from  an earlier planned demolition. The Council of the  Municipal Corporation of  Hyderabad has decided to protect only its fašade while allowing construction in other areas of it. We have requested the Commissioner to preserve the Serai in full.

The Heritage Cell has protested against the location of a proposed 5 star hotel in the compound of the Greenlands Guest House, a listed heritage building. Even though the Secretary, Tourism has assured that the building will not be touched despite locating a hotel in its compound ., the Cell felt, its beauty would be diminished thereby, many trees will have to be felled, rocks broken, pollution will increase and the traffic congestion already existing in the area will be severely worsened.

The Cell has also written to HUDA against the demolition of structures in the Jhamsingh temple area, part of which constitutes a listed heritage structure. The Cell could not protect the Devdi Ramachand and Ahotichand building, a heritage building. By the time it was brought to the notice of the Cell, the building was already pulled down. The matter was, however, brought to the notice of the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad and the HUDA.

The Cell appreciates the crucial importance of creating public opinion and networking with other organizations for preservation of heritage. From time to time, press meets were organized. From the last year, two of our members have joined the Core Committee of Intach, Hyderabad chapter; we had already one member on the Core Committee;  We have now very good working relations with Intach, Hyderabad chapter, and together with them we have taken up the cases for protection of many heritage buildings under threat as also other steps for heritage protection.

Dialogue was started  jointly by Intach, Hyderabad chapter and the Heritage Cell of the Forum with the JNTU College of  Architecture, Hyderabad in August 2003. Among important suggestions emerging for joint work were:  architectural institutions in A.P. under various universities will give their students projects on heritage conservation; while the  preparation of a list of buildings, monuments, precincts which were not  notified  as heritages will be taken up by the Cell and Intach, Hyderabad,  the institutes will help in preparing pictures, videos, CAD drawings, mappings and other necessary information on buildings and sites proposed as heritage so that the Heritage Conservation Committee can use them; Intach, Hyderabad and Heritage Cell can enter into an MOU with College of Architecture, JNTU; Indian Institute of Architecture , Hyderabad Chapter be also involved; while it was noted that a curriculum for Graduation in Architecture already contained lessons on heritage conservation, Intach, headquarters could write to Council of Architecture, New Delhi to include in the syllabus at Bachelors, Masters, Phd levels, topics on conservation of heritage buildings and precincts.; Pranava school, Banjara Hills, Oxford Grammar School, Himayatnagar are including or propose to include subjects of heritage conservation right from the middle school level.

A proposal for teachers' training programmes in heritage conservation has been mooted, to cover the twin cities first, then gradually to extend to other places in AP. A package of heritage campaign materials, like posters, stickers, etc., will be prepared. The course material already available with national Intach will be utilised. Themes will be rendered into songs, dramas, and dances. Heritage clubs will be formed in schools, and intra- and inter -school competitions will be held. The first workshop was held for a day for school children and teachers of the twin cities on 25th February 04 at Purani Haveli on " Heritage Awareness and Setting of Heritage Clubs". It was intended to create an interest in students   and teachers in heritage conservation, knowledge of the heritage sites in the twin cities, and spread a message of heritage conservation through them to a wider circle. The participants were taken round to parts of Purani Haveli and they did some exercises on heritage issues. There was also an inter-active session with Barry Richards Joyce, Head of World Heritage city, Derbyshire, U.K. Participation certificates were given to students and teachers.

The Heritage Cell has undertaken a systematic dialogue with the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad. At the request of the corporation's commissioner, some heritage buildings have been identified like Moazam Jahi market and a few others are being identified for renovation. A detailed meeting was held with the Commissioner followed by another with several officials of the Corporation led by its Additional Commissioner.  While agreeing to support their programme for taking up a few heritage buildings and sites for restoration work, the Cell stressed the  need to take immediately some concerted measures to save the already listed Heritage Buildings and Heritage Precincts (HBs and HPs)  from destruction and devising a mechanism therefor. It  requested the Corporation to  take up on a priority basis, the restoration of  the Malwala Palace; the Chowmahalla Palace and several others, to be  communicated to them  separately. 

Bearing  in mind that most of the private owners of the HBs are old families who do not have sufficient means of income to maintain the buildings and at the same are lured to sell the properties to builders when land price is soaring, the Cell  suggested   that the state government needs to formulate an attractive incentives scheme for the owners of heritage buildings to motivate them to maintain these buildings. The Cell forwarded these suggestions also to  the Vice chairperson, HUDA, the Principal Secretary Urban Development,  and the Principal Secretary, Tourism , A.P. Hyderabad

Heritage Cell has opened a web site at http://www.hyderabadgreens.org/hcell.html where information on heritages has been or are being posted. Information so far posted cover the aims and objectives of the Heritage Cell, heritage conservation laws, world heritage rules and guidelines, court cases on heritage fought by the Cell. A deatiled list,area-wise, of the heritage buildings and precincts with their description and photographs will be shortly inserted in the web site. The purpose is to generate interest and update knowledge of heritage sites in A.P. All are requested to access to the website and also inform others of this site.

We have many ideas. We have started implementing some but have a long way to go. We have, however, a fairly clear vision of what we need to  do.  A heritage E-group has been formed. We want more people to join and more volunteers for work  In this connexion, Dr. G.S.Chandy, a management consultant, had conducted a detailed workshop, for two days, on the tasks for conserving heritage. The findings of the workshop will be shortly posted on the web site. We can use these findings also for formulating our programme of action.  Please join us in our movement for saving heriatge in Hyderabad , Secunderabad and the rest of Andhra Pradesh.

To
The Comissioner and Special Officer
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation
HYDERABAD

Date: 26.6.2007

Dear Sir,
Sub: Demolition of dilapidated begins in city vide, The Hindu report in issue dated 26.6.07
We refer to the captioned report in The Hindu of 26.6.07 (copy enclosed), wherein the report states that GHMC has undertaken demolition of nine dilapidated buildings, that they have targeted 120 buildings for immediate action on account of their perilous state, and that they have identified 400 vulnerable buildings in the erstwhile MCH area. The report further states that GHMC plans to remove 15 buildings every week and that demolitions were carried out in Hussainialam, Abids, Gaddiannaram, Lower Tank Bund, Kurma Basti, Lalapet, etc.

Please let us know which are the areas covered under “etc”. Also, please furnish us with a list of the 9, 120 and 400 buildings referred to in the previous paragraph. It should be ensured that the buildings being / proposed to be pulled down should be examined as to their heritage value, before being demolished. As Hussainialam is within the Charminar precinct, please ensure that no building is demolished which, although not notified as a Heritage Buildings, may have heritage value by itself, or may affect the heritage value of the precinct. For this purpose, the Heritage Conservation Committee should be consulted as per the heritage regulations and as directed by the A.P. High Court in a number of cases.

The buildings which have heritage value and/or whether the demolition of such a building is likely to diminish or destroy the value and beauty of the Precinct inside which it may be located. A list of old “unsafe” buildings may be made within a time-bound programme, and a quick inspection by the Heritage Conservation Committee, or a team of persons approved by them, may be arranged to inspect such buildings and take an on-the-spot view whether it can be demolished without detriment to the value and beauty of the relative Precinct, or because it is devoid of any heritage value. If, on the contrary, this body finds the need for conserving the building, and if the building is considered unsafe for occupation, it should be immediately evacuated, with a proper signboard regarding its un-safety, and steps should be taken so that the neighbours or passers-by are also not put to any risk. We are confident that it is practicable to take such a measure.
Please let us have your advices at an early date.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,
(M.VEDAKUMAR)
President, Forum For A Better Hyderabad
Mobile: 98480 44713
Encl: Report in published in Hindu (26.6.2007)
copy to:
1.The Vice Chairman, HUDA, Hyderabad
2.The Chairman, Heritage Conservation Committee, Hyd.
3.The Convenor, INTACH Hyderabad Chapter, Hyd
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Letter to Hon'ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on "G" Block of Secretariat Issue

To,
Shri. Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy,
Honourable Chief Minister,
Government Of Andhra Pradesh,
Secretariat, Hyderabad. 
"Vaastu"of G-Block " of Secretariat Changed by CM for A.P to Showcase our Heritage for foreign Investments
 
Respected Sir,
 
We are keen that the Main Hall of the 'G'-Block be preserved for posterity as a monument of the erstwhile Nizams, since it was built by Mahboob Ali Pasha in 1888 and has rich & varied historical and cultural value.
 
            The Nizams and the Kohinoor made us world famous. The Urdu Language has Calliography spread far and wide. We would like II the Hall of Fame" of the main building to be retained & be converted into a microcosm of the outer macrocosm of our state & country.
 
We request you sir, to restore the main building of our secretariat as Karnataka has modified its High Court Building.
 
The statue of Mahboob Ali Pasha on Tank Bund could be shifted to the front varanda to look like Lincoln Memorial or the Roman Delphi Temples in Greece. All churches, mosques and temples in INDONESIA, COLOMBIA & the Continent have been restored with pillars around and domes arches, this should not be a problem.
 
Tile dignitaries coming for a day to visit our government / Secretariat should be able to get a bird's eye view of our future plans from our past
 
The 'G'-Block may be there remodeled and restored to give the appearance of Falaknuma Palace or the Shahi buildings of yester years.
 
Vision for the next 40 years should be our goal.   If each of the ministries and their departments like Tourism, Power, Tribal India and our Industries could attract foreign investment our aims and goals would be fulfilled. The foreign dignitaries coming with all foreign investments into our country should make Andhra Pradesh their first destination. Hence we would like to showcase our heritage. The dignitaries loved our forts, sound and light shows and the way we project our culture.
 
We request you sir, to kindly give a deep thought to what this building would look restored with a magnificent facade like Falaknuma Palace.
 
The Details can be worked out
 
The basement being made of terrakota with kuja railings for the open varandas with checkered marble flooring for waiting visitors all around, a beautiful building rising to the skies to resemble the monuments of yore to give the impression of the restored Tajmahal Even our Legislative Assembly & Council when they are lit up on festivals, National Holidays and A.P Formation day look gorgeous.
 
The grandeour of the twin cities, Hyderabad - Secunderabad & Cyberabad will attract many a foreign investment if projected in this Palatial Building..
 
Sir, Kindly consider this with deep thought & consultations with old Nawabs and members of Nizam and Salarjung Family for their inputs. Old stall warts like Mr. Narender Luther, Mf. V.K.Bawa, President Centre for Deccan Studies Hyderabad and Mrs. Bilkiz Alladdin would be the right consultants to guide you in this matter.
 
Long live Andhra Pradesh and Long live our great Culture.
 
Thanking you,
a) Sri. Veda Kumar  b) Dr.V.K. Bawa               c) Sri.Capt. J.Rama Rao  d) Dr. Sudha Kishore
e) Sri. M.B. Rao       f)  Sri. Narender Luther     g) Mrs. Bilkiz Alladdin      h) Dr.S.J.Reddy
i) Sri. C.S. Rao        j)  Dr. C. Ramchandariah  k) Col. AK Dewan            l) Mrs. Farida Hussain
 
FROM: FORUM FOR A BETTER HYDERABAD
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Proposed demolition of the oldest building in the Secretariat, G Block; built in 1888.

The below letter has been sent to:

Sri.Y.S.Rajashekar Reddy
Honourable Chief Minister
Government of Andhra Pradesh,
Secretariat
Hyderabad

Sri.Mohan Kanda, IAS
Chief Secretary,
Government of Andhra Pradesh,
Secretariat
Hyderabad.

Sri.G.Ashok Kumar, IAS
Vice Chairman
Hyderabad Urban Development Authority
Paigah Palace, Police Lines
Rasoolpura
Secunderabad-500 003

Sri. S.P. Singh, IAS
Secretary, Tourism,
Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
Secretariat, D-Block
Hyderabad
 

Mrs. Chitra Ramachandran
The Commissioner,
Municipal Corporation Of Hyderabad,
Tank Bund Road
Hyderabad.

Ms.Veena Ish, IAS
Secretary, Municipal Administration
Secretariat
Hyderabad.

 
We seek your urgent intervention to stop the order, alleged to have been already passed, for demolition of  the oldest building in the Secretariat, G Block, built in the year 1888. We refer in this connexion to the report in the Times of India of 29th November.
 
Even though the building was not listed in the list of heritage buildings, it has significant historical associations. It was built for Nizam Mahboob Ali who, however, did not occupy it. Subsequently, it served as the office of former chief ministers, Sarvashri M.Chenna Reddy, N.T.Rama Rao, Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy, and N. Janardhan Reddy. There are many buildings in the twin cities, which would qualify for being declared as heritage buildings, but have not been so identified because the exercise to identify new heritage buildings has not been undertaken for decades. According to experts, Hyderabad  has a very few number of heritage buildings, compared to other more recent cities and in the context of its chequered history and rich architectural treasure. Accordingly, the building should not be allowed to be demolished simply because it has not been declared a heritage building, ignoring its historical associations, and without examining its architectural value.
 
Several heritage conservation groups, including Intach, Hyderabad chapter, have already represented to conserve the building and possibly to convert it into  a museum.
 
Reportedly, the building has been certified as unfit for use. In its present condition, it may be unfit for use, but it needs to be examined whether it can be restored.
 
We, therefore, fervently appeal to you that, in consonance with your policy of support for heritage conservation, and to promote heritage tourism at Hyderabad, any order that may have been passed to demolish the aforesaid building be revoked. Simultaneously, experts in heritage conservation from Intach, the Heritage Conservation Committee of the government, etc., may be asked to document  the architectural values of the building and to arrange for its restoration. Conservation and restoration of this old building with many associations will improve the international image of the state government for developing the city as a tourist destination. Any action to the contrary will have an opposite consequence.
 
 
Thanking you in anticipation.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
(VEDA KUMAR.M)
Convener, HERITAGE CELL

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A Note on 'G' Block of Andhra Pradesh Secretariat Case for conservation


Historical value:

The historically important "G" Block Building in A.P. Secretariat was constructed by the 6th Nizam Mr. Mahaboob Ali Pasha in 1888. It was named the Saifabad Palace after the locality - Saifabad - in which it was situated. In 1941, the department of Finance and Public Works was transferred to the Saifabad palace. Periodic additions were made to the Saifabad palace according to need. The building stood as the centre of administration of the Government of Hyderabad. The palace portion housed the powerful General Administration department ( Shortly, GAD) which included the office of the Chief Minister and the chief secretary, besides one or two other departments., the library, a post office and archives of the Secretariat. A frequent jibe was that GAD of ten behaves like GOD!

Many Prime ministers such as Maharaj Krishna Pershad for two times, Sir Ali Imam, Sur Akbar Hyder, Nawab of Chattari's for two times and Sri Mirza Ismail all of them operated their Prime Ministerial office from this building. The last prime minister of Hyderabad state under Nizam's rule was Mr.Laik Ali.

This building was centre of administration even after police action in 1948. Mr. Bakle, I.C.S., from Maharashtra as a Chief Administrator under military Government operated from this building, followed by Mr. M.K. Velodi, I.C.S.

The designated Chief Minister Burgula Ramkrishna Rao operated from this building from 1952. Subsequently, this building has been used by Chief Ministers, Home Ministers and by General Administration Department. Since 1946, after formation of Andhra Pradesh, this building continued to be a centre of administration for Chief Ministers like, Mr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Mr. Sanjeevaiah, Mr. Kasu Brahmananda Reddy, Mr. Jalagam Vengal Rao, Dr.M.Chenna Reddy, Mr. T. Anjaiah, Mr. Bhavanam Venkataram Reddy, Mr. K. Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy, Mr. N.T. Rama Rao, and Mr. Nedurumilli Janardhan Reddy.

Former Chief Secretary, Mr. Narendra Luther, wrote in Deccan Chronicle on 5.5.96:
That ( meaning its demolition) will remove another historic landmark from the city. The State Secretariat building, nothing to inspire pride, will lose its historic core." He continues: " It is worth reflecting that after the integration of Hyderabad with the Indian Union, we have not constructed a single building of which we could be proud. On the otherhand, there is no count of buildings which we have, or allowed to be, demolished - like the Diwan Deodhi, the Bashirbagh Palace, the Mahboob mansion, the Khilwat and now Asman Garb Palace and the Saifabad Palace. Nobody has ignored our cultural heritage as we have done in this city! There is an urgent need for giving this a thought."


Architectural value:


'G' Block is a very old building built in 1888. It is indicated on 1914-1915 Hyderabad Municipal Survey Map as "Finance Office". (This map was the first set of maps of Hyderabad City drawn in a fully scientific cartographic method, available in printed sheets. The scale is 400 feet to an inch. This covers the entire city of Hyderabad of that period in 18 sheets. The 1915 map has an added value because it shows the layout of the city as well as the buildings and areas before the development works were taken up by the City improvement Board. In order to evaluate and document the schemes undertaken by the City Improvement Board, the scheme of the City Improvement Board have been marked on the 1915 A.D. base maps.)

  • The 'G'Block is the only surviving building at present out of the several old buildings in the Secretariat of Nizam's days.
    It is two storeyed large buildings with an annexe on the south.

  • It is built in classical European style with grand semi-circular arches, imposing arched-portico on the North, composite as well as Corinthian columns and pilasters on the fašade, deep cornices and parapets - all represent a typical building style prevalent in late nineteenth century Hyderabad.

  • It has deep verandahs, high ceilings, thick exterior made of stone, granite, and lime. Facilitates cool interiors, thereby minimizing the need for air-conditioning by consuming precious energy. Therefore, an energy-efficient building - must be preserved even as per energy conservation principles.

  • The main load bearing structure of the building does not show any signs of structural damage.

  • The building's exterior puts up a show of poor upkeep, apparently a result of deliberate neglect caused by intent and talks about its imminent demolition.

    The following report in the Hindu of 03.12.2004, Page 3, is also significant:

    "Interestingly, the Government will have to pay nothing for the demolition since it has received Rs. 60 lakhs from the firm under an agreement to allow the later to cart away the useful material such as furniture, doorways and wooden beams, said to have been procured by the Nizam from Burma.

    Classic Piece

    The most valuable part of the structure is the vintage lift, a classic piece of its kind. Successive Chief Ministers, especially, NTR, took a fancy for it. On no single occasion did the brass-crafted lift rail, recall the Secretariat staff.

Another master piece, which the contractors will be proud to possess, is the massive teak staircase connecting the two floors. It is in such a good shape that it can be straightway used for another building of the same size. Similarly the widen beams supporting the roof are large enough to meet the timber needs of a huge building."


A case for the conservation of the building

The following are the criteria for identification of Heritage Buildings
(Source - HUDA, Conservation of Historical Buildings and Areas in Hyderabad City, with Appendices)

These buildings are our links with the past, at the same time many of them can be used profitably for years to come. In deciding whether a building should be listed, the Urban Development Authority may adopt the following criteria:
(a) the age of the building;
(b) its special value for architectural or cultural reasons;
(c) its relevance to social and economic history;
(d) its association with well-known character or events;
(e) its value as part of a group of buildings;
(f)  its representation of certain distinct architectural styles of historical periods;
(g) to the uniqueness of the building of any object or structures fixed to the building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of the building; and
(h) any other factor relevant to the objectives of Urban Conservation.

In a meeting of 04.12.1981, the criteria were amended as follows:
1) Age
2) Architectural and historical value
3) Cultural, social and economic value
4) Association with a well-known character(s) or event(s)
5) Uniqueness of any object or structure fixed to the building.

Equal weightage was to be given to all criteria. But in certain cases some of the buildings had special importance on one or two counts and the particular criterion was the ruling factor over all the others.

It is clear that the G Block satisfies the criteria (a) to (h) and (1) to (5), stated above.

The mere non-inclusion of the "G" block in the current list of heritage buildings is no ground for its demolition when it has definitely heritage values and historical importance, as established in the previous paragraphs. In this connexion, the following further points may be noted.

Identification of heritage buildings and heritage precincts is not a one time exercise. There have been periodically additions to and deletions from, the list. We have shown earlier that prima facie the building satisfies the criteria for listing as a heritage building. Further, many conservationists and experts and concerned citizens, including many senior ex- bureaucrats, the Forum For A Better Hyderabad, members of Intach, Hyderabad chapter, etc., have repeatedly represented to the state government for the conservation of the building for its heritage value. There are many buildings in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, which have immense heritage value but not yet been listed as heritage buildings. A few examples are : the Old jail near Monda market: Methodist Church school, SJ Road; St Georges Grammar School building, Hyderabad built in 1836; the AP Legislative Assembly; Mehboob College complex, Patny, Secunderabad, Presbitery of the St Mary's Cathedral at SD Road, Secunderabad (St Annes School), and many other cathedrals.. There is immense scope for identification of further heritage buildings in the twin cities. According to many experts, Hyderabad has far less number of listed heritage buildings, in the context of its history, than many more recent cities have. Therefore, no decision should be taken to demolish a building which has immense heritage value.

Any building may turn to be unfit for use in its current state if neglected over a protracted period of time. In spite of non-maintenance, the G Block is structurally sound. The alleged opinion of the government's own departmental engineers about the un-safety of the building cannot be the final word on the subject. The state of the building needs to be examined by an independent body of experts, who are also experts in restoration work. A recent example is the case of the Nampally Sarai. The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad, on a report by its engineers to the effect that the building was unsafe for use, ordered its demolition. But on representations by activists, they were considerate enough to re-examine the building and found it to be fit for use after some repairs. This building is not officially listed as a heritage building.

We, therefore, submit that there is ample case for preserving the building and that the order for its demolition be revoked.

Contact:

VEDA KUMAR.M, Convenor, HERITAGE CELL, FORUM FOR A BETTER HYDERABAD,
"Chandram" 490, St.No.11, Himayathnagar, Hyderabad-29; Mobile: 98480 44713 Tel.No. 27635669 Fax: 27635644 E-Mail: betterhyd@yahoo.co.in

 

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