Hyderabad: The installation of permanent bollards within 50 feet from the Charminar is once again posing a threat to the iconic structure. Ever since a portion of the 56-metre southwest minaret of the Charminar fell down, authorities are now in a dilemma about installing permanent bollards.
A Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) official claimed that installation of bollards entails drilling and milling of the granite stone, which could cause damage to the centuries-old structure. As a result, the authorities have now decided to consult the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and heritage experts prior to the installation.
The GHMC as part of its Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP) has decided to install 125 fixed bollards within 50 feet from the iconic structure and on the Laad Bazaar, Sardar Mahal, and Macca Masjid roads which lead to the Charminar, at an estimated cost of `2.38 crore.
The work in its first phase will be taken up near Gulzar Houz and Mecca Masjid and in the second phase, along the Laad Bazar and Sardar Mahal stretch. Bollards in bylanes, abutting the pedestrianisation project, will be taken up in the final phase of the project. In addition to the above, the project also comprises 28 automatic rising hydraulic bollards to facilitate the movement of VIP and VVIP vehicles whenever required.
The corporation had commenced the project and fixed a few bollards near Gulzar Houz, but the project was put on hold on account of Ramzan. Ever since the collapse of a portion of the breastwork southwest minaret last month, corporation officials have been unsure about installing bollards within the first 50 feet.
According to highly placed sources in the corporation, the vibrations produced while drilling the pavement during the installation of permanent bollards could damage the weaker portions of the iconic structure. This apart, it will also cause damage to the expensive granite pavement laid around the structure. Sources said that the ASI had not permitted seating arrangements within 50 feet from the monument, so they certainly would not allow drilling activities, especially after the recent collapse incident.
A senior GHMC official told the Deccan Chronicle that the corporation will seek expert opinion before installing permanent bollards in the first 50 feet from the iconic structure. He said that the decision would be taken in around one week as the CPP works, which were put on hold during Ramzan, are scheduled to resume after June 5. He added, however, that the corporation was considering movable bollards - essentially bollards with wheels to facilitate movement. “We have prepared three other designs which we shall forward to the higher authorities in case the ASI or heritage department object to the installation of fixed bollards.”