Hyderabad: Digging puts fort wall at risk

Heritage Watch convener Mohammed Afzal argued that digging up to 15 feet near the bulwark can cause the wall to collapse.

Hyderabad: The GHMC has resumed digging work near the Golconda Fort for laying drainage pipelines after aborting it for a few days in the wake of protests from activists.

The pipeline is plann-ed from the Shah Hatam lake to drain stormwater to prevent the lake from overflowing.

According to Heritage Watch convener Moham-med Afzal, GHMC officials dared to resume the work only because the ongoing court vacation makes it impossible for activists to approach the court.

He argued that digging up to 15 feet near the bulwark can cause the wall to collapse and that cutting the rock moat and the base of the fortification wall of Naya Quilla could destroy the bulwark. He said bulldozers and earth movers were being used for the task, leading to cracks in the rampart. He alleged that the moat, which was once used to hold water as a defense mechanism for the fort, was now being dug for the construction of a drain.

Mr Afzal further said that the GHMC was simultaneously dumping debris and construction waste around the lake which can, in turn, enable land grabbers to grab the leveled area.

He also alleged that the low-ranking officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) were taking no action against such activities.

If the GHMC authorities were carrying out this operation without taking prior permission from the ASI, then the archaeological officials should file an FIR against the GHMC officials, he said.

Dr Lubna Sarwath of Save Our Urban Lakes said that no work permit or plan was to be found on the websites of either bodies.

She expressed her surprise about the reticence of the ASI and asked to share the notice which has (reportedly) been issued by the ASI to the GHMC as claimed by the officials.

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