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Save Naya Qila call gets shriller

Hyderabad: Naya Qila or New Fort, the extended portion of Golconda Fort that has already lost a major chunk of land for the Hyderabad Golf Club, may lose another 15 acres if the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) hands over the land. It may be noted that the State government had shot a letter to ASI and it is now considering the proposal.

The fresh activity of excavation at Naya Qila has not gone down well with social and heritage activists. P Anuradha Reddy, Convenor of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Hyderabad Chapter says, "Way back in 2009, when excavations were going on Chinese porcelain was found but the ASI Hyderabad Circle did not do anything. There are clear evidences of a garden and we need to protect it. Once it is given to the Golf Club, we will lose the place forever and lose out on tourism."

In 1999, the government acquired 52 acres of patta land from 54 farmers to set up the Golf Club. Now, plans are to further add more land. Presently, farmers living close to Naya Qila use the land to graze cattle. ASI officials say that they do not have the manpower to control the farmers. Lubna Sarwath, social activist says, "Naya Qila should be preserved. A few years ago also excavations were done causing a lot of damage to Golconda Fort."

Merun M, a student of architecture and heritage enthusiast, says, "In most cities where there are historical monuments have parks. During excavations in 2014, water channels, tanks, walkways and fountains and several garden relics were found.

Naya Qila has huge potential to draw tourists. With the Qutb Shahi Tombs being done up the gardens if restored could become a touristy attraction. If given to the Golf Club, the common man will not be able to even enter the place." Naya Qila has mosques dating back to centuries. The area is dotted with raised platforms and remains of great gardens dating back to Qutb Shahi era.

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