Hill Fort Palace, a heritage precinct, at Basheerbagh in the city.
HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Saturday directed the state government to immediately commence restoration and conservation works of the Hill Fort Palace, a heritage precinct, at Basheerbagh in the city.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili expressed displeasure over the authorities’ inaction over the issue. It asked why the state government was not concerned about its own historical buildings. Governments had the duty to protect historical buildings, the court observed.
The Hill Fort Palace, which once housed Ritz Hotel, is owned by the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation. It was built in 1915 by Nizamat Jung, chief justice in the government of the erstwhile Nizam government. The building is said to be styled on the Trinity College, Cambridge.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed in 2020 by Deepak Kant Gir of Hyderabad Heritage Trust seeking conservation and restoration of the Hill Fort Palace. The petitioner complained that the government was not taking any steps for the revival of the palatial building. Expressing concern over the dilapidated condition of the building, which was once owned by Asaf Jah, son of the Nizam, he requested the court to grant permission to Hyderabad Heritage Trust to start restoration works or to protect the palace, if the government was not concerned. He also faulted the Centre and Archaeological Survey of India for being silent about the issue.
The government had constituted a committee on August 17, 2021, to examine the condition of the palace and to grant approvals to repair and start maintenance of the structure. The committee has been inactive for more than five months.
The state government conveyed its intent to restore the heritage structure only when Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma took serious note of the issue and summoned the managing director of Telangana State Tourism Corporation Ltd in January 2022.
However, there was again a delay in studying the structural strength of the building. With regular monitoring of the case by the court, the government stated that repair works would be started.
The bench directed the state to commence the same immediately and furnish the status of restoration works by August 8.