TS govt seems loathe to restore heritage building

TS govt seems loathe to restore heritage building
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Highlights

Even as the Governor E S L Narasimhan issued proceedings for the AP government to hand over its buildings located in Hyderabad to Telangana state, there is no talk on the restoration of the ‘G’ block that stands amidst other buildings in the secretariat, that was once called ‘Saifabad Palace’ the centre of administration from where several Prime Ministers of the erstwhile Nizam era like Maharaj Krishna Pershad, Air Ali Imam, Sur Akbar Hyder functioned.

Hyderabad: Even as the Governor E S L Narasimhan issued proceedings for the AP government to hand over its buildings located in Hyderabad to Telangana state, there is no talk on the restoration of the 'G' block that stands amidst other buildings in the secretariat, that was once called 'Saifabad Palace' the centre of administration from where several Prime Ministers of the erstwhile Nizam era like Maharaj Krishna Pershad, Air Ali Imam, Sur Akbar Hyder functioned.

Several Chief Ministers like Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, K Vijayabhaskar Reddy ran the affairs of the State from the 'G' block. The last occupant was N T Rama Rao. The two-storeyed European style building with arches, an imposing arched-portico and Corinthian columns with vintage interiors, a teakwood lift and staircase, was saved from demolition as heritage activists raised objections.

Vedakumar of Forum for Better Hyderabad who has been fighting for the restoration of G Block for almost two decades says, "It was the seat of power for so long and has a character."

P Anuradha Reddy, convener, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Hyderabad chapter, says, "The government's apathy to the historic structure built by the sixth Nizam Mahboob Ali Pasha is worrisome. The structure could once again be used as previous reviews showed that the structurally stable."

In 2014, a team of conservation experts from Rajasthan that restored ancient forts and palaces in the desert state was bought and they declared that the building was fit to be restored. Sources at the General Administration Department are tight tipped on the 'G' Block.

Madhavi K P, a heritage activist, rues, "It seems the government wants the building to give way on its own. Look at Rome, England and France how the governments preserve old buildings which not only look beautiful but also bring in tourists."

FALLS ON HARD TIMES

o The historic building was constructed by the 6th Nizam Mahboob Ali Pasha in 1888 and was called Saifabad Palace.

o It was the centre of administration during Nizam era in the Hyderabad State.

o It also served as the Office of Prime Minister of Hyderabad.

o Several PMs of erstwhile Nizam era like Maharaj Krishna Pershad, Air Ali Imam, Sur Akbar Hyder functioned from here

o In 1941, the department of Finance and Public Works was shifted to the Saifabad Palace

o The High Court, while disposing of a petition against its proposed demolition in 2004, directed the then government to take the views of the Heritage Conservation Committee and the HMDA.

o The government received a tender for Rs 60 lakh from a firm under an agreement to allow it to take away the useful material such as furniture, doorways and wooden beams.

o One more attempt to demolish the structure during President's Rule before bifurcation was stalled due to the efforts of heritage activists.

o In 2014, a team which restored several ancient forts and palaces in Rajasthan ruled that the building was fit to be restored.

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