Protesting against the recent de-notification of the Devdi Mehdi Nawaz Jung in Banjara Hills, president of the Forum For A Better Hyderabad (FFABH), M Vedakumar submitted a representation to the Commissioner, GHMC, Commissioner, HMDA and Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Secretariat and requested them to revoke the denotification.
Under powers vested in the State Government under regulation 13.3 of the HUDA Zoning Regulations 1981, the State Government chose to denotify Devdi Jung, also known as Banjara Bhavan, a grade 1 Heritage building from the list of notified heritage buildings. “Apart from being a grade 1 heritage building, the building was the abode of the great poet, Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. A fitting tribute to him who brought India’s literature and culture into the world arena for the first time, when the whole world is still celebrating the 150th anniversary of the great poet’s birth! Can any country think of destroying a relic of Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Charlie Chaplin and the like to play to the interest of a private vested interest ?” questioned Vedkumar in the letter.
Experts from the field of Heritage, appointed by the state government identified this to be a heritage structure of grade 1 category; the same body also declared it as having continued undiminished heritage value, and found it quite restorable, he informed. Even at the Andhra Pradesh High Court, the FFABH effectively demolished the arguments of the owner of the premises, who claimed that the building had no heritage value and was in a dilapidated condition, he said.
Vedkumar called the act as a malafide exercise and colourable exercise of power.
He also said, “We refuse to accept your de-notification and demand resurrect/reconstruct/restoration of the building. Meanwhile, please defer your de-notification and take all steps to ensure that the owner does not construct on the site of the building. Please note that you will be held responsible for all consequences if you do not act accordingly.”